Last edited Tue Jan 15, 2013, 10:19 AM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
The White House is set to release a series of recommendations from Vice President Biden's task force on gun violence, which will no doubt face intense criticism from groups like the NRA and their allies. But two new polls suggest that a month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, there's a growing public appetite for meaningful gun reform.
A Pew Research Center report released late yesterday found a majority of Americans support a wide variety of new measures, some by enormous margins. For example, 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, while 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns.
It's worth emphasizing that in our current political climate, 80% of Americans don't agree on much, but they at least agree on measures like these.
What's more, two-thirds of Americans (67%) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales. In a bit of a surprise, nearly as many people (64%) support having more armed security in schools, boosted by large numbers of self-identified Republicans backing the idea.
Indeed, there are, not surprisingly, significant partisan divides on most of the proposals, with Democrats and Republicans more likely to back new measures than Republicans. That said, looking through the results, it's hard not to notice that GOP voters are not reflexively opposed to new gun laws -- among Republicans, 49% support a federal database, 49% support a ban on semi-automatic weapons, and 46% support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.