Wayne LaPierre is looking a little silly right now, after warning America that liberal extremists were going to push for background check legislation. It turns out, those liberal extremists are none other than the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that 85% of gun owners support universal background checks and 88% of Americans support them.
They broke it down by certain states as well:
Florida, March 21, 91 – 8 percent support, including 88 – 11 percent among gun owners
Connecticut, March 6, 93 – 6 percent support, including 89 – 9 percent among gun owners
Ohio, March 1, 90 – 8 percent, including 86 – 12 percent among gun owners
Pennsylvania, January 30, 95 – 5 percent, including 95 – 4 percent among gun owners;
New Jersey, January 24, 96 – 3 percent, including 95 – 5 percent among gun owners
Virginia, January 10, 92 – 7 percent, including 91 – 7 percent among gun owners.
This poll comes ahead of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) gun control legislation the Senate will be debating next month, in which Reid is trying to make background checks the centerpiece. A bi-partian group is working on the background checks bill in the Senate, but in general Republicans oppose background checks because the NRA opposes background checks. Yes, Americans support them, including gun owners, by a huge majority.
So, Republicans will have to vote no on something most Americans support.
Many liberals and just sane folks are enraged that Harry Reid dropped Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) assault weapon ban, saying that he wouldn’t allow an unpopular measure to drag down the potential for passage of more popular gun control legislation. Feinstein pointed out that the public supports the assault weapons ban, “You’d think the Congress would listen, but they clearly listen to the National Rifle Association.”
Feinstein is correct, at least according to a January Pew Research poll, showing that the public heavily favors universal background checks and 55% back a ban on “assault style weapons”, with 40 percent saying they don’t approve of the ban. But if you’ve been in this country recently, you know that even opening the door on the assault weapons debate can turn otherwise sane people into raving lunatics. It’s possible that Reid is trying to avoid giving Republicans this cover to avoid passing the other gun safety measures.
After all, Reid only needs 5 Republicans to stop NRA Republicans from killing gun safety measures in the Senate using their beloved 60 vote rule. Reid is counting on the bipartisan panel working on background checks to come up with an agreement that will get him the votes needed for passage. But he certainly won’t have them on an assault weapons ban.
Vice President Joe Biden told NPR that the administration is still pushing for an assault weapons ban and reminded them that in 1994, when they passed the first one, no one thought it could be done then either.
Reid might have his eye on breaking the legislation down into pieces: First passing the background check legislation in order to force Republicans on the record with no obvious reason to vote no, and then presenting the assault weapons ban as a separate piece, letting it sink or swim on its own. Certainly the assault weapons ban muddies the clearer waters of background checks, but Reid may also not realize just how neutered the NRA has been by the Sandy Hook massacre.
Since Republicans (and NRA infused Democrats) will most likely kill any gun safety bill they don’t like, Reid might have to break this legislation down into itty, bitty parts and try to sell it that way. Reid has promised a vote on the assault weapons ban, but background checks remain the most likely gun measure to pass.
Image: Democratic Underground
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
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