The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the first hurdle gun control advocates have to clear, said Wednesday that he's not open to legislation to ban assault weapons, institute a universal background check or force gun owners to register the firearms.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte's dismissal of the most aggressive elements of President Obama's gun control plan indicates that the areas of compromise will be filling the holes in the current federal background check system, pushing states to pour in more information about potential gun buyers, including the mental status, and efforts to bar illegal sales.
"The states are not doing the job they should in terms of getting data into that system. The federal government is not doing the job they should be doing in enforcing our current gun laws," he said.
Improving the background check system will be key, he said, "but universal background checks, I do not think will be a part of that."
At a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, he brushed aside the push to ban military-style weapons, noting that many people own the semi-automatic weapons that Democrats want to ban.
Goodlatte also shrugged off calls for a universal gun registry. When a reporter suggested that there is no difference between registering auto and guns, the Virginia lawmaker said, "cars are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights and firearms are. To me it's very important that we focus our efforts with regard to the concern about the misuse about firearms on those who misuse them."