Voters Overwhelmingly Support Background Checks for All Gun Sales

By - MAR. 08, 2013

New polls released this week by
Mayors Against Illegal Guns conducted by Douglas E. Schoen LLC showed likely
voters in a wide range of states and congressional districts overwhelmingly
support background checks for all gun sales. The average support for background
checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent;
the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent.  The findings of these surveys can be found here.  Full-page advertisements in today's
Washington Post, Politico and Roll Call feature the poll results along with
members of Congress from these states and districts and their ratings from the
National Rifle Association.  The ad can
be viewed here:

Mayors Against Illegal Guns
also released a new PSA today featuring 30 mayors demanding that Congress take
immediate action to prevent gun violence. The PSA marks a transition in the
coalition's campaign from demanding a plan to demanding that Congress take
action to pass legislation to require background checks for all sales, limit
military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun
trafficking a federal crime.  The
bipartisan coalition now includes more than 900 mayors from 45 states and more
than 1.4 million grassroots supporters. 
The ad can be viewed here:


"Americans overwhelmingly support background
checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," said Mayors Against Illegal
Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "Now it's time
for Congress to stand with their constituents to pass a law requiring
background checks for all gun sales - and to take other common sense steps that
will save lives."

"Mayors are on the front lines in
the fight against gun violence - that's why so many have joined our coalition
since Newtown," Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M.
Menino said. "The numbers don't lie - support for background checks and

other sensible reforms is clear. That's why we're demanding
our leaders in Washington help us to protect our communities and keep our
children safe. Now is the time for action."

"The findings of these surveys on
background checks speak volumes about the changing public mood on guns," said
pollster Doug Schoen. "This margin is unlike any I've seen on this issue, and
it marks a real sea change.  Voters want their elected officials to fight
gun violence, and after Newtown, they're demanding it." 

Under current federal law, only licensed firearms
dealers are required to conduct background checks on potential buyers.  Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are
conducted by unlicensed "private sellers" who are not required to conduct a
federal check, and who often do business at gun shows and on the Internet - indicating that
about 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with no
background check for the buyer. This "private sale loophole" allows dangerous people who are already prohibited
from buying guns - including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously
mentally ill - to avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers.

Evidence demonstrates that background checks save
lives.  For example, in the fourteen
states that already require background checks for all gun sales:

  • Gun trafficking is 48
    percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for
    all handgun sales.
  • In 2010, the rate of women
    murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in
    other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.
  • The firearm suicide rate
    was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed
    suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.

The findings in the polls
released this week are in line with recent
independent polls that have found more than 90 percent of Americans support background checks
for all buyers and that more Americans say they are now in
favor of stricter gun laws

- a nine point increase in support since the Newtown shooting. Polling by Republican Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns also
found that 82 percent of gun owners - including 74 percent of National Rifle
Association members - support requiring criminal background checks for anyone
purchasing a gun.

Mayors featured in the PSA released
today include (in order of appearance):

Mayor Thomas Menino - Boston

Mayor Pete Buttigieg- South Bend, IN

Mayor Michael Nutter- Philadelphia

Mayor Jim Suttle- Omaha, NE

Mayor R.T. Rybak- Minneapolis, MN

Mayor David Coss- Santa Fe, NM

Mayor Paul Dyster- Niagara Falls, NY

Mayor Sal Panto- Easton, PA

Mayor John Linder- Chester, PA

Mayor Helene Schneider- Santa Barbara, CA

Mayor Craig Lowe- Gainesville, FL

Mayor Ed Pawlowski- Allentown, PA

Mayor Brenda Lawrence- Southfield, MI

Mayor Pedro Segarra- Hartford, CT

Mayor Linda Thompson- Harrisburg, PA

Mayor Ed Lee- San Francisco

Mayor Miro Weinberger- Burlington, VT

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt- Chapel Hill, NC

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson- Gary IN

Mayor Joy Cooper- Hollandale Beach, FL

Mayor Virgil Bernero- Lansing, MI

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon- West Sacramento, CA

Mayor Rick Gray- Lancaster, PA

Mayor Mike Ryan- Sunrise, FL

Mayor Joseph Riley- Charleston, SC

Mayor Bill Bell- Durham, NC

Mayor Jonathan Mitchell- New Bedford, MA

Mayor Beth Talabisco- Tamarac, FL

Mayor Gloria Chavez- Tijeras, NM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg- New York City

About Mayors Against
Illegal Guns

Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal
Guns has grown from 15 mayors to more than 900 mayors from across the country.
We have more than one million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun
violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New
York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united
the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by
holding gun offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable; demanding
access to trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat
illegal gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses
and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other
prohibited purchasers to get guns.  Learn
more at


Founder of Independence USA PAC, Founder of Everytown for Gun Safety, Co-founder of the Partnership for a New American Economy, and Co-chair of Building America's Future


We believe that tomorrow can be better than today. And we know that it’s up to us to make it so.

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