Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick defies NRA, says he supports background checks for private gun sales

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(DALLAS) -- Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick advocated for stronger gun background checks in sales between strangers, saying he’s “willing to take an arrow” and go against the National Rifle Association (NRA) to do so.

Patrick, in an interview with the Dallas Morning News, said Friday that “not expanding the background check to eliminate the stranger to stranger sale makes no sense to me and … most folks.”

Patrick, a staunch gun rights advocate who has in the past been endorsed by the NRA, added that “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.”

He said that gun sales between strangers are exempt from the requirement that the buyer be vetted through a federal database.

Patrick still opposes background checks for gun sales among family members and friends, he said in the interview.

The NRA called Patrick’s position “political gambits” and said his "'solution’ precedes his possession of the facts."

“Criminalizing private firearms transfers would require a massive, government gun registration scheme. Instead of trampling the freedom of law-abiding Americans, the government should focus upon actual solutions: fixing our broken mental health system, prosecuting known criminals, and enforcing the existing gun laws that require follow-up whenever a prohibited person tries to buy a firearm,” the NRA said in a statement.

Calls for stronger gun laws have, once again, become part of the national discourse after recent high-profile mass shootings in the U.S., including in El Paso, Dayton and Odessa.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed eight executive orders in an effort to “better protect” communities after the mass shootings.

The orders included improving requirements for authorities when it comes to reporting suspicious individuals and making it easier for people to identify potential mass shooters. The objectives of the orders did not focus on guns.

Numerous businesses, including CVS, Walgreens, Wegmans and Krogers, have asked customers to stop openly carrying their guns inside the stores.

Walmart, the site of the El Paso shooting and another in Southaven, Mississippi, will now limit the sales of guns and ammunition. The change will reduce the chain’s total U.S. market share of ammunition from 20% to between 6% and 9%, CEO Doug McMillon said in a company memo.

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