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 FeinsteinLewandowski clashes with ABC host over whether Trump can fire Mueller Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate Judiciary reportedly drops Manafort subpoena | Kushner meets with House Intel | House passes Russia sanctions deal | What to watch at 'hacker summer camp' Manafort agrees to speak with investigators after subpoena 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 CoburnThe more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit Congress, stop using our nation's military policy for political purposes Congress must rid itself of political 'pork' to preserve its integrity MORE (R-Okla.), Mark KirkMark KirkMcConnell: Senate to try to repeal ObamaCare next week GOP senator: Not 'appropriate' to repeal ObamaCare without replacement GOP's repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate MORE (R-Ill.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinMnuchin: Trump administration examining online sales tax issue Manchin on GOP lawmaker’s suggestion for a duel with female senators: I’ll ‘step outside with him’ McCain returning to Senate in time for health vote MORE (D-W.Va.) and Charles SchumerCharles SchumerLawmakers push to toughen foreign lobbying rules OPINION | Democrats: Time to wish Hillary Clinton good luck and goodbye How Democrats' "Better Deal" leaves American workers worse off 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 HellerBare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan | Ads target Heller, Capito over vote | Dem says ObamaCare repeal effort moving US 'toward single-payer' Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan MORE (R-Nev.) recently called background checks a "reasonable step forward."