President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he has the backing of gun owners when it comes to proposals for new laws governing firearms. On Thursday, yet another poll showed he’s probably right.
The latest national survey from Quinnipiac University confirmed something that’s been widely evident in the months since the massacre in Newtown, Conn.: Support for universal background checks is pretty much, well, universal. According to the poll, 91 per cent of American voters support background checks for all gun buyers, while a mere 8 per cent said they are opposed. The poll also showed 88 per cent of gun owners in favour of universal background checks — a point Obama seemed to allude to while stumping Wednesday in Denver to drum up support for the White House’s gun proposals.
“There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights,” Obama said. “I’ve gotten stacks of letters from proud gun owners, whether they’re for sport, or protection, or collection, who tell me how deeply they cherish their rights, and don’t want them infringed upon — but they still want us to do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence.”
Public support for universal background checks has been undeniably consistent for months, even as the National Rifle Association and some Republicans continue to express misgivings about the proposal. In March, Quinnipiac showed 88 per cent of the public and 85 per cent of gun owners favouring universal background checks. February’s poll from Quinnipiac showed 92 per cent of voters overall and 91 per cent of gun owners expressing support for universal background checks.
The inaugural Morning Joe/Marist poll released on Wednesday showed 87 per cent of Americans supporting background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows. A CBS News poll released last week showed waning support for stricter gun measures in general, but tellingly, 90 per cent of respondents said they still favour universal background checks.
The NRA and pro-gun Republicans have argued that expanded background checks will be unfairly tedious to responsible gun owners, while more ominously warning that the measure could ultimately lead to confiscation. Quinnipiac’s latest indicated that rhetoric may be working, despite the enormous support for universal background checks. The poll showed a plurality of Americans overall (48 per cent) and a majority of gun owners (53 per cent) believe that universal background checks could lead to confiscation of legal firearms.
This story was originally published by Talking Points Memo.
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