(CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday he supports stronger enforcement of the current background check system, not a new one, as Congress works to push through legislation aimed at combating gun violence.
His comments signal an uphill battle for gun legislation in the Republican-controlled House.
"They should actually do a real background check on everyone. And they - the Department of Justice ought to enforce the law," Boehner said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
Last week, a Senate committee approved a measure that would expand the background check system to include checks on all firearm sales, including private transactions.
In recent weeks, Boehner has said if the Senate passes a bill, the House will review it–though there's no guarantee anything will pass the lower chamber.
"We've got plenty of laws on the books. Let's go and enforce them before we just load up more laws on law-abiding citizens. Criminals don't respect the law," he said.
Compared to other gun control proposals floated on Capitol Hill–assault weapons ban, magazine caps–background checks appear to be the most likely to pass the Senate.
On the House side, Boehner said they've held a number of hearings before the Judiciary Committee, and they're looking at the issues of violence and mental illness.
Recent polls, however, show an overwhelming number of Americans favor an expanded background check system. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last month, 92% said they support checks for all gun buyers.