GOP US Senate candidate Michael Sullivan says he’d vote against gun background checks

Republican US Senate candidate Michael J. Sullivan, who previously held the nation’s top post regulating firearms, said in a WFXT-TV (Channel 25) debate tonight that he would vote against the Senate’s current measure that aims to close the gun show loophole because there is no such exception.

Sullivan was the only one of the Republicans in the race to oppose the measure. His rivals in the April 30 primary, state Representative Daniel B. Winslow and Cohasset businessman Gabriel E. Gomez, both said they would support it.

Sullivan, former acting director of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said that in order to deal with mass shootings by the mentally ill, the nation needs a national database of those people that gun dealers could tap when deciding to issue weapons, as they do with criminal background checks.

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The measure now before the Senate would standardize criminal background checks at gun shows, as they are done at gun dealers. But Sullivan said he would not back the measure because no such “gun show loophole” exists.

“Some guns are sold in gun shows, some are sold at flea markets. Some are private transactions,” Sullivan said. “Massachusetts requires a background check for every transaction.”

Many states, however, do not require background checks at gun shows, as Gomez pointed out.

In a WBZ/Boston Globe debate on Wednesday, Sullivan repeatedly dodged Winslow’s question on how he would vote on the compromise measure that would require background checks at gun shows and for all private sales, except gun transfers among friends and family.

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