Quinnipiac just published data showing more than half of Americans reject the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) hardline stance on gun control.
On Wednesday morning, NBC News published the latest Quinnipiac University poll gauging Americans’ support (PDF) for more rigid gun control measures, like expanded background checks for firearm sales from both licensed and unlicensed dealers (the so-called “gun show loophole”), banning assault weapons, and a mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases. The poll found that at least two-thirds of respondents supported all of the aforementioned measures, with nearly 100 percent of respondents supporting expanded background checks.
Latest Quinnipiac poll: https://t.co/2gk74zrqAg
• 66% of Americans support stricter gun laws
• 67% support assault weapons ban
• 83% favor mandatory waiting period for gun purchases
• 97% back universal background checks
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 21, 2018
When Quinnipiac started polling respondents on gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre that left nearly two dozen elementary school students dead, results were mixed on whether or not most Americans’ mind had changed on firmer gun control measures. However, support has gradually increased over time, with five of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in American history taking place in the last three years (Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and San Bernardino).
“If you think Americans are largely unmoved by the mass shootings, you should think again,” Quinnipiac poll assistant director Tim Malloy said. “Support for stricter gun laws is up 19 points in little more than 2 years.”
Interestingly, more than 50 percent of gun owners told Quinnipiac they would support “stricter gun laws,” though the poll didn’t ask respondents if there was a specific bill they would like to see enacted. 59 percent of respondents said America would be “less safe” if more people carried guns, and a staggering 75 percent of respondents said Congress “needs to do more to reduce gun violence.”
The poll, which was conducted in three days following the killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, paints a drastically different picture than what the NRA would have lawmakers believe. Even after survivors of the massacre lobbied lawmakers to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee, 71 Republican legislators voted to kill the proposal with the students watching from the gallery.
However, the NRA’s influence goes much higher than the Florida legislature. As CNN reported, between 2005 and 2016, 14 members of the U.S. House and Senate received direct campaign contributions from the NRA’s political financing arm. Because CNN only counted direct contributions and not money spent on TV ads, robocalls, direct mail campaigns, and other forms of campaign expenditures not directly tied to candidates’ campaigns, the number of politicians indirectly benefiting from the NRA’s deep pockets is much higher.
President Trump has asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to roll out Department of Justice guidelines on banning “bump stocks,” which the Las Vegas shooter used to make his semi-automatic weapons fire at automatic speeds. However, he has stopped short of calling for a ban on assault weapons or a mandatory waiting period on gun purchases.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: As of February 14, 2018, Grit Post will no longer publish the names of mass shooters, and we discourage other media outlets from doing so in order to avoid contributing to future mass shootings by making killers famous.)
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.