Rep. Bob Goodlatte: Government is not enforcing existing US gun laws

Two gun-control measures that could pass Congress include improving background check system and cracking down on illegal sales, says Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast on Wednesday.

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, House Judiciary Committee chairman, speaks at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. The Virginia Republican was the guest at the Feb. 27 Monitor-sponsored breakfast with reporters.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte heads the committee that oversees immigration reform and gun control, among other issues. The Virginia Republican was the guest at the Feb. 27 Monitor Breakfast. 

His approach to gun-control legislation: 

The panel will “be engaged in looking at ways to improve our efforts to keep weapons out of the hands of people who perpetrate tragedies.... The states are not doing the job they should in terms of getting data into [the background check] system.... The federal government is not doing the job they should be doing in enforcing our current gun laws.”

What gun legislation he expects to pass Congress: 

“The ability to produce legislation is going to be focused on two things.... One is improving the background check system, but universal background checks I do not think will be a part of that ... [and] the other will be improving the efforts to crack down on illegal sales of firearms on the streets.”

Dealing with the millions of individuals in the US illegally: 

“There is a broad spectrum between deportation and an easy, special pathway to citizenship to find a way to bring people out of the shadows and give them a legal status that will allow them to be better able to participate in our society, and we should be focused there.”

Chances for action on immigration reform legislation:

“Focusing on where we can find ... common ground on legal status would be a good step.... We have a broken immigration system.... If we can’t solve all of it, we should be solving as many parts as we can.” 

Whether the GOP’s problems are a matter of flawed policy or poor communication: 

“It is primarily our ability to communicate our message, in a variety of ways.”

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