The Numbers Show Gun Owners Really Do Back Obama

April 4, 2013 7:53 a.m.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he has the backing of gun owners when it comes to proposals for new laws governing firearms. On Thursday, yet another poll showed he’s probably right.

The latest national survey from Quinnipiac University confirmed something that’s been widely evident in the months since the massacre in Newtown, Conn.: Support for universal background checks is pretty much, well, universal. According to the poll, 91 percent of American voters support background checks for all gun buyers, while a mere 8 percent said they are opposed. The poll also showed 88 percent of gun owners in favor of universal background checks — a point Obama seemed to allude to while stumping Wednesday in Denver to drum up support for the White House’s gun proposals.“There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights,” Obama said. “I’ve gotten stacks of letters from proud gun owners, whether they’re for sport, or protection, or collection, who tell me how deeply they cherish their rights, and don’t want them infringed upon — but they still want us to do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence.”

Public support for universal background checks has been undeniably consistent for months, even as the National Rifle Association and some Republicans continue to express misgivings about the proposal. In March, Quinnipiac showed 88 percent of the public and 85 percent of gun owners favoring universal background checks. February’s poll from Quinnipiac showed 92 percent of voters overall and 91 percent of gun owners expressing support for universal background checks.

The inaugural Morning Joe/Marist poll released on Wednesday showed 87 percent of Americans supporting background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows. A CBS News poll released last week showed waning support for stricter gun measures in general, but tellingly, 90 percent of respondents said they still favor universal background checks.

The NRA and pro-gun Republicans have argued that expanded background checks will be unfairly tedious to responsible gun owners, while more ominously warning that the measure could ultimately lead to confiscation. Quinnipiac’s latest indicated that rhetoric may be working, despite the enormous support for universal background checks. The poll showed a plurality of Americans overall (48 percent) and a majority of gun owners (53 percent) believe that universal background checks could lead to confiscation of legal firearms.

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