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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lawmakers Hit Snag In Gun Control Talks

Pictured are weapons seized using California's "Armed Prohibited Persons System." Federal agents seized 2,033 firearms, 117,000 rounds of ammunition, and 11,072 illegal high capacity magazines from January 1 to November 30, 2012, according to the California Attorney General's office. (California Attorney General's office)

Pictured are weapons seized using California’s “Armed Prohibited Persons System.” Federal agents seized 2,033 firearms, 117,000 rounds of ammunition, and 11,072 illegal high capacity magazines from January 1 to November 30, 2012, according to the California Attorney General’s office. (California Attorney General’s office)

Post-Newtown, it appears that the only gun control that will make it out of Congress is legislation to prevent gun trafficking.

That’s because talks to forge a compromise on what was thought to be an area of agreement – universal background checks on all gun purchases – have broken down.

The congressional newspaper The Hill reported on Thursday that the sticking point between lawmakers is a requirement that gun sellers keep records of gun sales.

Gun rights supporters oppose that because they fear it could lead to gun registration and then confiscation.

The only program in the nation that actually confiscates guns from some people is up and running in California, where the owners of certain types of guns are required to register them.

It was created in 2001 in response to high-profile cases where people who were banned from having or owning guns used them to commit murders.

California set up a database to track banned users, and for the past five years it has sent out teams to confiscate weapons from them.

Now lawmakers are proposing more money for the program, which in the past the National Rifle Association has lobbied against. The NRA did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Update 3:30 p.m. – The NRA sent the following comment:

“The NRA is committed to pursuing policies to make our communities and our families safer. Reasonable Americans know that this is best accomplished by improving school security, including all relevant mental health records in the instant check system, and prosecuting criminals to the fullest extent of the law. Any program which requires a government registry of law-abiding citizens exercising a constitutional right will be opposed by the NRA.”

Guest:

  • John Marsh, Special Agent Supervisor for the Department of Justice’s Firearms Bureau.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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