Ahead of Executive Actions, Here’s How Most Americans Stand on Gun Control
News| | By Jason Owen
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will unveil new executive actions to tighten gun control measures in the hopes to curb some of the nation’s gun violence. Early reports indicate the moves will look to expand background checks for more firearm purchases, as well as enhance law enforcement of some of the nation’s current gun laws, as well as focus on better access to mental health care.
Since last weekend when reports began circulating Obama was ready to take some executive action on gun control, opponents of stricter gun laws have worried the President might overstep and trample the rights of responsible gun owners.
But while opponents of these executive actions – or really any gun laws in general – decry the President’s new rules, polling data indicates these actions are aligned with the vast majority of Americans when it comes to gun control, even some of the millions of gun owners nationwide.
When it comes to overall gun control, the nation is heavily divided on the issue.
According to the Pew Research Center in July 2015, 50% of Americans believe it is “more important to control gun ownership” than it is to “protect the right of Americans to own guns.” 47% believe the right to own is more important than controlling gun ownership.
But when it comes to “specific ideas for restrictions, most [gun owners] are in favor,” wrote the Washington Post.
In regards to stricter gun control on the sale of firearms – such as the President is proposing – 55% of Americans in an October 19 Gallup poll said they believe laws should be more strict than they are now. While Democrats and Independents generally fuel the push for stronger gun control, the Gallup survey found 36% of gun owners favored more strict laws. While it’s still a minority, that number was up 6% from 2014.
Tuesday’s actions by the President will focus on unlicensed dealers who buy and sell guns at gun shows, flea markets, and online, but will not fully address the supposed “gun show loophole” that allows some sellers to evade the criminal background check required at brick-and-mortar stores, USA Today reported.
When it comes to new expansions on background checks, Mr. Obama’s executive actions are still less than what most Americans want to see.
In October, the Washington Post covered research from John Hopkins University, published online in Preventive Medicine, where the school found that “85 percent of gun owners said there should be background checks for every individual seeking to buy a gun, regardless of who wants to sell the weapon or where the transaction takes place.”
Those findings mirror similar numbers from July 2015 that found 88% of Americans were in favor of expanding background checks, including 79% of Republicans, The Hill reported.
President Obama will not make every purchase subject to a background check, but is taking steps to more closely align with how Americans want to see the nation’s gun laws enforced.