New Poll Shows NRA Members Strongly Support Common-Sense Gun Laws

By Mayors Against Illegal Guns - JUL. 24, 2012

Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released the findings of a survey by GOP pollster Frank Luntz showing that NRA members and gun owners overwhelmingly support a variety of laws designed to keep firearms out of dangerous hands, even as the Washington gun lobby prepares to spend unprecedented millions supporting candidates who pledge to oppose any changes to U.S. gun laws. The poll also dispels the myth among many Washington pundits that there is a lack of public support for common-sense measures that would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and keep Americans safe.

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • 87 percent of NRA members agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
  • There is very strong support for criminal background checks among NRA members and gun owners:
  • 74 percent of NRA members and 87 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun.
  • 79 percent of NRA members and 80 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees – a measure recently endorsed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry.

NRA members strongly support allowing states – not the Federal government – to set basic eligibility requirements for people who want to carry concealed, loaded guns in public places, with 91 percent of NRA members stating states should decide.

By contrast, the NRA leadership’s top Federal legislative priority – national reciprocity for concealed carry permits – would effectively eliminate these requirements by forcing every state to allow non-residents to carry concealed guns even if they would not qualify for a local permit. NRA members support many common state eligibility rules for concealed carrying:

  • 75 percent of NRA members believe concealed carry permits should only be granted to applicants who have not committed any violent misdemeanors, including assault.
  • 74 percent of NRA members believe permits should only be granted to applicants who have completed gun safety training.
  • 68 percent of NRA members believe permits should only be granted to applicants who do not have prior arrests for domestic violence.
  • 63 percent of NRA members believe permits should only be granted to applicants 21 years of age or older.

The NRA rank and file also supports barring people on terror watch lists from buying guns (71 percent) and believe the law should require gun owners to alert police to lost and stolen guns (65 percent). The NRA’s Washington office strongly opposes both measures.

The Luntz findings are in line with previous research showing that Americans are nearly unanimous in their support for closing loopholes that allow dangerous people to buy firearms without a background check. A January 2011 poll conducted for Mayors Against Illegal Guns by the bipartisan polling team of Momentum Analysis and American Viewpoint found that 86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy a gun or who they but it from.

“Gun owners and NRA members overwhelmingly support common sense steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, even as the NRA leadership continues to oppose them,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “It’s time for those in Washington – and those running for President – to stand with gun owning citizens who are concerned about public safety, rather than influence peddling lobbyists who are obsessed with ideology. I join with NRA members in urging Washington to pass a law requiring universal background checks for all gun sales – and to take other common sense steps that will save lives.”

“This poll shows plain and simply how seriously out-of-step the leadership of the NRA is with its membership – and how, despite what previous polls say, there really is support for common sense gun laws in the U.S.,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “The best way to honor the memory of those who senselessly lost their lives in Aurora is to make it harder for this to ever happen again. Our political leaders need to lead – and we demand they act now.”

The Luntz poll of 945 gun owners nationwide was conducted in May 2012 and was divided evenly by gun owners who were current or lapsed members of the NRA and non-NRA gun owners. The poll has a margin of error of + 3 percent.


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


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