Texas school shooting: New poll shows agreement on gun reform

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Alex Cochran, Deseret News

Support for gun reform measures like background checks and creating a national database of gun purchases is widespread among American adults, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll shows. 

The poll was conducted Wednesday, the day after at least 19 children and two adults were killed in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. In recent weeks, the U.S. has seen mass shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo and a church in Southern California.  

The new poll shows that 88% of registered voters strongly or somewhat support requiring background checks on all gun sales, with only 8% strongly or somewhat opposing them. The net differential — 80 percentage points — was the largest of any gun reform measure polled.

Researchers also found that 81% support background checks for private gun sales and sales made at gun shows, while 11% are opposed.

Limiting gun purchase options for individuals with mental health issues also has widespread support. Eighty-four percent approve of a ban on gun sales to those identified as dangerous by mental health providers, while 9% are opposed. Nearly 9 in 10 registered voters agree that better mental health screening and support should be prioritized to prevent mass shootings.

A majority of those polled — 77% — are in favor of requiring all gun owners to store their guns in a safe storage unit, with 15% opposed, the survey showed.

Other proposals, despite having majority support, split respondents along ideological or party lines. Overall, 75% of registered voters are in favor of creating a national database with each gun sale, with only 18% opposed. However, only 7% of Biden voters opposed this, compared to 31% of Trump voters.

And on banning assault-style weapons — which saw 67% support overall — only 48% of self-described conservatives were in favor, as opposed to 88% of self-described liberals.

One measuretouted by the National Rifle Association and former President Donald Trumpreceived a favorable response from those polled. Fifty-four percent were in favor of equipping teachers and school staff with concealed firearms, with 34% against.

A majority of those polled oppose repealing the Second Amendment, though there was a sharp ideological divide. Forty percent of liberals support repealing it, while just 9% of conservatives do. 

A bipartisan group of senators is exploring a bill that may include some of these reforms. The effort is spearheaded by Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema, of Arizona.

In 2013, in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, Manchin worked with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania, to expand background checks preceding gun purchases. To many gun control advocates, the bill was “modest to the point of being toothless,” The Washington Post reported. It did not pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Several Republicans have expressed interest in a similar proposal in recent days, like Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, of Utah. “Manchin-Toomey has a lot of appealing features and red flags make a lot of sense,” Romney said Thursday. “I have to look at the final bill, but the answer is I am inclined to vote for that kind of legislation.”

The Poltico/Morning Consult poll included 1,920 registered voters and the margin of error was plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Samuel Benson

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