According a United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll, Americans haven’t given up on reforming the country’s gun laws, even if Congress has.
The poll, which was conducted in the wake of the U.S. Navy Yard shooting, finds that an overwhelming 71 percent of respondents agree that “there’s something that can be done through public policies” that could seriously reduce mass shootings. Just 24 percent disagree.
A strong 62 percent majority says that it “would support banning gun purchases for life for all individuals with a history of violence or a police record,” with 32 percent opposed. Such a law — which is far more aggressive than anything Congress or the Obama administration has really proposed — would have prevented the Navy Yard shooter from acquiring the gun, which he purchased legally in Virginia, that he used in the massacre.
Less restrictive gun reforms garner similar support — 76 percent of respondents favor requiring background checks for all legal gun transfers, including those between private individuals, 58 percent support a ban on assault weapons, and 53 percent support limiting the size of ammunition clips. Each of these reforms is supported by majorities of Democrats and Independents.
Despite the broad popular support for strengthening gun laws, Congress seems further than ever from taking on the problem. Since a minority of the Senate (and the country) successfully blocked the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand gun sale background checks, Congress has taken very few steps toward passing even that widely popular measure — much less broader reforms such as the ones mentioned in the United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) insists that he hasn’t given up on gun reform, but acknowledges that “we don’t have the votes.”
The full results of the poll can be seen here.