Here’s One Republican Who Says He’ll Buck the NRA on Expanded Background Checks

Dan Patrick, Texas’ lieutenant governor, says it “makes no sense” not to expand checks to private sales.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, said sales between friends and between family members would be exempted from any new background check requirement.Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

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In the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting in El Paso in early August, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick signaled he would toe the conservative line and blame everything but the gun the killer carried.

“We’ve always had guns, always had evil, but I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill,” Patrick said, speaking on Fox and Friends shortly after the shooting.

But Patrick, a former conservative talk radio host, said on Friday that he was willing to break with the National Rifle Association’s staunch opposition to expanding background checks for purchasers of firearms. Speaking to the Dallas Morning News, Patrick said he now supports requiring background checks for private sales of guns between two strangers (though he still thinks there should be an exception for sales between friends and family members):

“That gap of stranger to stranger we have to close, in my view,” Patrick, a staunchly conservative Republican and avid gun-rights advocate, said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

“When I talk to gun owners, NRA members and voters, people don’t understand why we allow strangers to sell guns to total strangers when they have no idea if the person they’re selling the gun to could be a felon, could be someone who’s getting a gun to go commit a crime or could be a potential mass shooter or someone who has serious mental issues.”

“Look, I’m a solid NRA guy,” he said, “but not expanding the background check to eliminate the stranger to stranger sale makes no sense to me and … most folks.”

Prior to the 2018 election, Patrick was awarded an A-plus rating and strongly endorsed by the NRA, but the gun rights group was not happy with Patrick’s latest statements. According to the Dallas Morning News, the group issued a statement calling Patrick’s ideas “political gambits” and said they would  “resurrect the same broken, Bloomberg-funded failures that were attempted under the Obama administration.”

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