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“There will be a moral price as well as a political price to be paid for inaction,” he said.

Nevertheless, any legislation that does make it through the Senate would still have to clear the Republican-controlled House.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he doesn’t think universal background checks will be part of the committee’s work on the issue.

He did say that strengthening the background check system and trying to curb illegal firearm sales are two areas where lawmakers could likely produce legislation.

Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.