Gun control: Did Obama let the moment pass?
While polls show a shift in US attitudes, President Obama is insisting, 100 days after the massacre in Newtown, Ct., that it's not too late to get gun control legislation through Congress.
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But there are other ways to look at public opinion. A broadly worded question about making gun control laws “more strict” clearly raises concerns with a lot of Americans, but a narrowly tailored question can produce a markedly different result. In January, a Quinnipiac poll found 92 percent of voters, including 91 percent of gun-owning households, support background checks on all gun buyers. A CBS-New York Times poll in January produced the same result.Skip to next paragraph
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Obama homed in on this point on Thursday. “Think about that,” he said. “How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything?”
Senators working on a compromise on background checks reached an impasse three weeks ago, but their staffs are talking again, the New York Daily News reports. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) of New York told the paper he expects to meet with Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma before the Senate returns from recess April 8.
At issue is whether records of private gun sales must be kept. Senator Schumer is insisting on it. Senator Coburn rejects the idea. Gun-control advocates say background checks would be unenforceable without record-keeping. Gun-rights supporters say that record-keeping could lead to a national registry of gun-owners, and potentially, confiscation.
Still, given public opinion on the issue, some analysts predict that a tightening of the background check system has a chance of passing.
“Clearly, background checks on private sales between family members or neighbors that requires record-keeping is not going to get any support, but closing the gun-show loophole does.”