The second-ranking House Republican said Tuesday that he supports improving the federal background-check system for gun buyers but stopped short of endorsing universal checks on all weapon purchases.
The comments by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) came as two GOP lawmakers from suburban districts announced plans to co-sponsor legislation to make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time. The moves signal potential openings for bipartisan compromise on gun control, a debate so far dominated by Democrats with little said or done by Republicans.
Cantor, giving the most specific comments on gun control by a GOP congressional leader since President Obama outlined his proposals in late January, told CNN in an interview that lawmakers could consider adopting a plan implemented by Virginia after the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. Since the shootings, the state has linked mental-health information to law enforcement databases used to conduct background checks for gun purchases.