A new poll has found that more than 90% of Americans support expanding background checks to include all gun purchases. The Quinnipiac University poll, published on July 3, revealed that only 7% of Americans don’t support expanding background checks. Moreover, when broken down by party, 86% of Republicans support this, along with 92% of gun owners. So what’s up with Congress?
Well, the House did pass additional funding for expanding background checks back in May, which had bi-partisan support. The Senate is supposed to take that up later on this year. But a very loud, vocal group of people is trying to sound like they represent a majority when they scream that even expanding background checks is a Second Amendment violation.
The Washington Post has graph after graph showing how the poll breaks down by party, by gender, by age, by whether people own guns or not, and it’s overwhelming. Any way you break it down, a huge majority wants expanded background checks. However, their answer to “what’s up with Congress” has to do with the term “gun control.” People support expanding background checks when it’s not part of “gun control.” As soon as you ask whether people support “gun control,” the answer is much more divided, probably because the NRA and their ilk have turned “gun control” into something to fear. And they’re very, very good at connecting background checks with “gun control.”
One of the conservatives’ favorite arguments is that criminals won’t submit to background checks because they don’t obey the law. By that ridiculous logic, we shouldn’t have any laws at all. Criminals are criminals because they don’t obey the law. But wait! If everyone had to go through a background check to purchase a gun, regardless of where they got it, isn’t there a chance, maybe a very tiny chance, that fewer criminals will find it so easy to buy a gun?
The NRA has also tried to loosen a law that’s stood for over 40 years about lying on a gun purchase form about who you’re really buying the gun for. The NRA supported a challenge to that law, saying that it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, matter who ultimately ends up with the gun so long as they’re legally able to own one. Fortunately, the Supreme Court ruled against the defendant and the NRA, saying that no, you actually can’t lie about who you’re buying a gun for, whether they can legally own one themselves or not. Subtract one point from the NRA, for once.
Only a few privileged people, and their special interests, have any influence over lawmaking in this country. The NRA is one of those interests, and they’re fantastic at manipulating public opinion when it comes to any type of sensible gun legislation. The opinions of the people don’t matter, so despite this poll, we shouldn’t expect Congress to actually jump into action anytime soon, thanks to Republicans and their backers. After all, the deaths of innocent bystanders and children is the price we pay for freedom, if one wants to listen to the vocal minority of true gun nuts, including the NRA.