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Coburn Sounds Off on Guns, Immigration

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Coburn said he doesn’t think a gun control package will pass the Senate without significant changes.

“I applaud Sen. Reid for sending a bill to the Senate floor that includes comprehensive, enforceable background checks and for emphasizing that to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “This sensible reform — with overwhelming support from Americans, including gun owners — will save lives and keep our communities safer.”

In the C-SPAN interview that will air Sunday, Coburn disagreed with the idea that a majority would back more background checks paired with requirements that sellers keep a paper trail for gun purchases.

Concerns on Immigration Overhaul

Coburn also expressed concerns with the immigration overhaul discussions under way, saying that he remains unconvinced about border security, which he thinks should be solidified before having a broad discussion about establishing a pathway to citizenship.

“You are never going to get the votes until you can demonstrate and certify that we have secured our borders,” Coburn said.

He added that he has traveled to some more remote parts of the U.S.-Mexico border where security is still weak. He suggested further enhancements to fencing, technology and intelligence are needed to crack down on illegal border crossings.

“The point is — is we can control our border. We have chosen not to yet,” he said.

Asked about what sort of concrete requirements he would have for determining the border is secure, Coburn deferred to the judgement of fellow members of Congress for certifications.

“Congress would make that decision every year. Are we maintaining the border? Have we controlled the border? Have we done what we what we need to do?” Coburn said. “And I don’t even want to talk about the rest of it until we do that, because people in this country aren’t worried about immigration, they’re worried about illegal immigration.”

Fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said earlier this week that he also would like to see annual Congressional votes on the extent of border security efforts. Paul has displayed an openness to supporting a broader immigration overhaul that includes a way for people currently without legal status within the United States to eventually attain citizenship.

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