Americans agree about stronger gun laws

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It’s a fact. Americans agree about requiring Brady background checks on all gun sales. Polling data over many years has been consistent. A recent Star Tribune poll showed that 82% of Minnesotans favor background checks on all gun sales. It’s unmistakable. This includes gun owners, non gun owners, rural and urban Minnesotans and people of all political persuasions.

Americans in general in polling taken over many years show anywhere from 90%-92% agreement about Brady background checks. Gun owners also support requiring background checks on all gun sales by large numbers. This recent polling shows 83% of gun owners support Brady background checks for all gun sales:

A new national Public Policy Polling survey of gun owners finds overwhelming support for background checks and a higher likelihood of supporting political candidates who move them forward. Gun owners also believe the National Rifle Association, or NRA, is out of touch with them on these issues, and many believe the organization has lost its way altogether. While the debate over gun policy starkly divides American politics, this poll shows that support for key gun violence prevention policies has remained strong for years, even among gun owners themselves. (…) “The big picture from this survey is clear: Gun owners overwhelmingly support background checks,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling. “And that includes gun owners who are Republicans and gun owners who are NRA members. Gun owners want politicians to take action on these issues, and if anything, they will reward them for it. Gun owners also send a clear message that the NRA has lost its way and does not represent them on this issue.”

In 2 previous Frank Luntz (Republican pollster) polls surveying gun owners, even 74% of NRA members support requiring Brady background checks on all gun sales.

To show this support using humor to get the point across, the Brady Campaign teamed up with “Funny or Die”. Check out this great video showing the things about which most Americans agree. Here it is on this You Tube video


It’s known that many gun owners still want to buy guns with no background checks. While that may be OK for those who are law abiding, it ignores the fact that some are not and can get guns through on-line sites and at gun shows with no background checks. After Facebook made its’ announcement that gun sales without background checks would not be allowed on its’ platform, some are finding other on-line sites to do their business.

Why do people NOT want to go through background checks? That’s a question that needs to be asked and answered. If it’s inconvenient, so be it. When applying for certain jobs, a background check is required. When adopting a pet, a background check is required. One usually stands in line to renew driver licenses or auto titles or licenses for many other things. That can be inconvenient. Why the fuss over going through a background check when purchasing a gun?

Most people to agree to go through background checks because they buy their guns through licensed sellers. If the buyer is law abiding, it most likely takes just a few minutes to wait to find that out when buying from a licensed seller. That’s what the word “instant” means in the National Instant Background Check system. This is a system that works but it needs to be expanded to include private sellers if we are truly serious about keeping guns away from those who should not have them.

So what’s the problem? It’s a mystery to me and most Americans. It shouldn’t be a mystery to our elected leaders who have become lapdogs for the corporate gun lobby. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can not only change our gun policies to reflect the majority views of Americans. But we must also change the conversation and the culture that allows tragedies like this one in Tennessee:

An 11-year-old boy has been sentenced to spend the rest of his childhood in custody after he was found guilty of the murder of an 8-year-old girl. (…)

MaKayla Dyer, a student at White Pine Elementary, was killed October 3, 2015, outside her home. Juvenile Judge Dennis “Will” Roach II, who presided over Tiller’s case, wrote in a court order that he was playing with MaKayla Dyer, her 11-year-old sister and her friend when he asked her to retrieve her puppies. After she said no, he went inside and came back with a 12 gauge shotgun and a bb gun, telling the girls he had guns.

“The victim then laughed at Mr. Tiller, and stated that she believed they were not real,” read the court documents. “Tiller then made certain the gun was loaded, cocked the hammer of the gun, and shot the victim just above the heart” from inside the window.

Dyer fell backwards and was later confirmed dead.

Day after day these incidents are happening. Most Americans would agree that this is not acceptable and that the 11 year old boy who shot an 8 year old girl should not have had that gun that day. Common sense is not always practiced by gun owners. Unless we raise the issue and talk about it as a matter of a public health epidemic, more children will die in the same way.

So we already agree that Brady background checks should be extended to all gun sales. Guns are the only product in the market place designed to kill others. We should all agree that we can do a much better job of keeping loaded guns out of the hands of children, teens, vulnerable adults and those who intend harm. The gun culture we have is not promoting the idea that more guns have not actually made us safer from devastating gun deaths and injuries. Reality matters. With rights come responsibilities and owning a gun is an awesome responsibility that should be taken very seriously. This is the conversation we should be having but thanks to the corporate gun lobby, it is not the conversation we are having.

It’s changing gun policy to reflect the majority public opinion and the public health and safety of Americans. It’s changing the conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in our country and how we can save lives.

Since you agree with me, let’s get to work on solutions to the problem.

10 thoughts on “Americans agree about stronger gun laws

      1. You ask: “Why do people NOT want to go through background checks? That’s a question that needs to be asked and answered”

        I’ll dispense with the broader philosophical and Constitutional argument for requiring permission of the State to exercise one’s Constitutional right, as that ship has already sailed; but there remains the more narrow issue of requiring said State permission to conduct a transaction of goods or services between private citizens. I would ask you to inject this requirement into any other Constitutional right and see if you come to the same philosophical conclusions.

        That aside, the salient factor in your question is that, like most polling, Americans are only asked in regards to an end-state….not the process. The process being just as important as the goal. Lawful firearm owners who raise objections to UBCs, don’t have an issue with background checks in and of themselves. We undergo them, at our expense, each time we purchase from an FFL dealer. The problem with UBCs, is that [stating once again] there is no enforcement mechanism. There is no means for the State to know whether the firearm in my possession [if purchased from a neighbor, friend, acquaintance, etc] occurred with the proscribed background check [were it law].

        Thus, said law is not only an exercise in futility, again at the consumers expense, but will serve as merely the preamble to the next step…..which as the National Institute of Justice has pointed out: UBCs are ineffective without universal registration. And the majority of our esteemed politicians of the gun control camp [“gun safety” being a false narrative], tell us time and again, that they do not desire nor will submit legislation requiring mandatory, universal registration……not that this would pass strict scrutiny in the courts.

        So while UBCs sound great on the surface, they will serve only to feed species correlation=causation theories, or increase the gun control industry’s call for registration.

        If the buyer is law abiding, it most likely takes just a few minutes to wait to find that out when buying from a licensed seller.

        In theory. I’m guessing that you don’t purchase many firearms. Nonetheless, the couple of hours I usually have to wait is not the reason I oppose UBCs.

      2. I’ve gone over this before. Of course you believe what you believe. There has been no gun registration with the background check system now in place. There will be no registration with a system that extends to private sellers. No matter what you say, this system is actually working in the states that have required background checks on all gun sales. It is not an exercise in futility of course. Since the Brady law was passed 2 million people who tried to buy guns from FFLs have been stopped from doing so- most being felons. Washington state just passed their law and they are keeping track of how many prohibited people have been stopped from buying guns now that they have to go through a background check for all sales.

        UBC system will obviously not stop all felons, domestic abusers or those adjudicated mentally ill from getting guns. We know that. And so do you. But we do need to try and not trying is ludicrous given what we know about how many sales go without background checks. There are no exceptions when going through a TSA line. All have to do the same thing. No exceptions for getting a driver license- everyone does the same thing. That’s what this is. It works.

  1. A UBC law with adequate tracking, in effect a quasi-registration system, would be beneficial in catching persons who transfer guns w/o going through the UBC, but such tracking is not actually necessary. If some gun folks are not comfortable with tracking I think it can be left out of a federal UBC law. Most folks would abide by a UBC, because it’a human nature to follow laws, & that would likely be good enough as it would constrict the flow of guns to prohibited persons. Still some tracking, which makes the law more enforceable, would help.
    But it’s not just a tight federal UBC law that’s needed to curb gun violence. There’s other laws & measures required; strongly promoting safe gun storage (gun theft almost certainly being the sinlge biggest source of crime guns), stiff penalties for gun traffickers and the resources to make those penalties a reality.
    And then many changes to social policies – addressing mental illness, generational poverty, creating a more equitable education system, drug abuse measures, changing society’s perception of what masculinity means, etc.
    We have our work cut out for us.

  2. J. Edwards says:

    “The problem with UBCs, is that [stating once again] there is no enforcement mechanism. There is no means for the State to know whether the firearm in my possession [if purchased from a neighbor, friend, acquaintance, etc] occurred with the proscribed background check [were it law].”

    What the Insurgent stated here is voicing my concern. UBCs would be pointless without a national registry.

  3. It does seem, at first glance, as though a UBC without tracking would be toothless & ineffective. But just like how most people stop at stop signs at night when nobody else is around, a UBC law will be largely complied with because that’s human nature.

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