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Durbin was asked on Tuesday about the likelihood of Congress passing legislation creating universal background checks for gun purchasers. His comments come as lawmakers consider a number of proposals to reduce gun violence in the aftermath of a shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December that resulted in 28 dead.

"I think it's the one proposal that has the best chance because hunters and sportsman — people who own a gun to protect homes and themselves, they agree," Durbin said in an interview with local radio station WDWS-AM. "We don't want to to sell firearms to criminals and fugitives, those who are under a domestic violence restraining order or people who are mentally unstable. The only way to do our best to keep our guns out of the hands of those folks is to have a universal background check.

"It's the folks that have something to hide or shouldn't own a firearm that we've got to go after," Durbin said.

Since the shooting massacre lawmakers have proposed a number of methods for reducing gun violence. Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinThe case for protecting America's intelligence agency whistleblowers Senate confirms Trump's first lower-court nominee Feinstein: Comey memos 'going to be turned over' MORE (D-Calif.) is seeking to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. But Republican legislators and some Democrats have expressed opposition to that proposal.

Meanwhile, Sens. Tom CoburnTom Coburn'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress Freedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC MORE (R-Okla.), Mark KirkMark KirkTaking the easy layup: Why brain cancer patients depend on it The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see The way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump MORE (R-Ill.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Overnight Energy: Trump energy nominees face Congress | OPEC to extend production cuts In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue MORE (D-W.Va.) and Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Finance: Dems introduce minimum wage bill | Sanders clashes with Trump budget chief | Border tax proposal at death's door Sanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Top House, Senate Dems ask Interior not to eliminate national monuments MORE (D-N.Y.) are working on a compromise for background checks for gun sales. Manchin, who, after the Newtown shooting, quickly called for federal action to reduce gun violence, opposes an assault weapons ban.

Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerNew CBO score triggers backlash Overnight Healthcare: CBO fallout | GOP senators distance themselves from House bill | Trump budget chief blasts score | Schumer says House bill belongs 'in the trash' Five takeaways from the CBO healthcare score MORE (R-Nev.) recently called background checks a "reasonable step forward."