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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Despite what seemed like openness to universal background checks, Rubio says he's opposed



Sen. Marco Rubio in an interview with the Times' Adam Smith on Friday appeared open to universal background checks as a way of closing the gun show loophole. "Generally, I think you could find support for that," if privacy is protected, he said.

But after President Obama issued his gun control proposals today, the Florida Republican issued a blistering statement that seemed to oppose any new regulation. "President Obama’s frustration with our republic and the way it works doesn’t give him license to ignore the Constitution," Rubio said, his reaction tougher than what even the NRA put out.

Confused, we asked Rubio's office if he supported universal background checks.

No, spokesman Alex Conant said. "Current law requires background checks on all retail sales. He supports that. What he was referring to in the (Friday) interview is encouraging people to get concealed weapon permits like we do in Florida. It requires you to learn gun safety and undergo a background check. Expanding it to private sales is problematic because you are asking an individual to conduct a background check on another individual. That is expensive and hard to do, and he does not support that."

If that was Rubio's sentiment it was not clear from the interview. Smith, appearing on his weekly Political Connections show with Bay News 9, asked about the possibility of universal background checks. "Is that an element you can support?"

"First of all we have that here in Florida for concealed weapons permit holders like myself," Rubio replied before seemingly going to the question. "I think you'll find support for that so long as there's not a public database that people can look up and see who owns what guns and where they live."

Conant said Rubio would address the gun controls in an interview tonight with Bill O'Reilly.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 6:38pm]


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