Asa Hutchinson May or May Not Be Open to Background Checks

Asa Hutchinson, potential Arkansas gubernatorial candidate and NRA point-man on school security, has broken ranks with the NRA, if only slightly.

When asked on CNN by Wolf Blitzer his personal opinion on background checks, Hutchinson replied that he was "absolutely" open to background checks on firearms. The one caveat was that the background checks couldn't make things hard for personal casual gun sales between friends. After about 10 seconds of thinking about it, you may realize that caveat would provide almost infinite workarounds for any sort of meaningful background check requirements. Still, when it comes to support for gun regulation from NRA spokespeople, you take what you can get.

This position would put Hutchinson at odds with the NRA's official opposition to background check requirements. It puts him on the same side as 9 out of 10 Americans and Congress, though. The debate in Congress on the issue is not really whether to have background checks on every gun sale, but rather how to implement background checks on every gun sale.

However, the NRA and Hutchinson have been quick to clarify (read: damage control) the statement. First, Hutchinson's statements were his own, and did not reflect the views of the NRA. Second, Hutchinson only supports expanding databases for things like mental illness, for times when background checks are already required.

While Hutchinson's newly "clarified" point of view puts him back in line with his NRA bosses, his original statement seemed to tell an entirely different story.

Watch it yourself. Is it flip-flopping, or simply a later-clarified slip of the tongue?