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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 FeinsteinA guide to the committees: Senate Dem: Trump's China trademark looks like a quid pro quo Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick 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 CoburnCoburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways Rethinking taxation MORE (R-Okla.), Mark KirkMark KirkLeaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ill.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch MORE (D-W.Va.) and Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDean: Schumer's endorsement 'kiss of death' for Ellison How the candidates for DNC chair stack up ahead of Saturday's vote DNC candidate Harrison drops out, backs Perez for chairman 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 HellerCornyn: Border wall 'makes absolutely no sense' in some areas Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare MORE (R-Nev.) recently called background checks a "reasonable step forward."