How often have you heard gun control advocates quoting figures which indicate that “more than 90%” of gun owners, NRA members, hunters or whoever else support “universal background checks” in the past couple of years? If you follow this subject even casually your answer was most likely pretty often. It’s been repeated enough that we generally see it accepted as part of the conventional wisdom. But as is so often the case these day, the “conventional wisdom” is frequently neither. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action has dug into some of the actual numbers on this question and more, finding that how a question is phrased to the public can have a significant impact on the data.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) explored this possibility in its own poll, which asked a more nuanced question. This first explained that most gun show sales involve licensed dealers who are already required to conduct background checks under federal law, and then asked whether the person agreed or disagreed that additional laws, including enhanced background checks, were necessary for gun show sales.
When the issue was presented in context, the support for increased background checks was less than half of what is claimed by various gun control groups, and nowhere near an overwhelming majority of those polled. The majority (53 percent) of those taking part in the NSSF survey agreed that more restrictions were not necessary. These results are further bolstered by results at the ballot box, where restrictive background check laws have seen nowhere near the 90 percent support claimed by gun control supporters.
by Jazz Shaw