Some would have us believe the gun issue divides us. But recent polling in five battleground states suggests otherwise. The coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns sponsored a 5-state polling project, led by my firm, Momentum Analysis, and a bipartisan all-star polling team. (Read more about the polls here, and view a more detailed analysis here.) Across all states polled (AZ, CO, IN, OH, VA), overwhelming numbers support a series of stricter gun laws. Sadly, none of these proposals is currently up for debate in Washington, or in any state legislature.
Improving information sharing between law enforcement, and keeping guns out dangerous hands are no-brainers. There is almost universal support for "requiring federal agencies to share information with each other about suspected dangerous persons or terrorists, in order to prevent them from buying guns" from Arizona (91% favor) to Virginia (96%). And across all states, more than nine in ten registered voters living in gun-owning households are also supportive.
And majorities support nearly every single stricter gun law we examined. Everything from "prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns" to "banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines" garners clear support across all five states.
But what are state legislatures actually debating? Proposals we found to be unpopular - even in gun households. For example:
• Allow carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses (26% favor, 69% oppose).
• Allow carrying of concealed guns in government buildings, including courthouses & the state legislature (19% favor, 75% oppose).
• Allow carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses (32% favor, 62% oppose).
• Prevent companies from asking employees if they are keeping guns in their cars while at work (42% favor, 50% oppose).
• Change current law to allow people convicted of certain drug crimes to own or carry guns. (24% favor, 71% oppose).
• Allow carrying of guns in bars, clubs and other establishments that serve alcohol (16% favor, 80% oppose).
Don't let cable news shows and extremists convince you there is a "gun divide" in this country. Most people want to see guns out of dangerous hands. And most don't want to see guns in college classrooms, at work, in bars, or in government buildings. This is true in Republican-leaning states like Arizona and Indiana, in more evenly-divided states like Ohio and Colorado, and in gun households. The only divide here is between some extreme legislators' priorities, and their constituents' realities.
For voters recognize the importance of stricter gun laws in curbing tragic violence. About half of voters in each state feel stricter gun laws can prevent mass shootings, even more than in an identical question Gallup asked in January, that I wrote about here. And specifically in Arizona and Virginia, pluralities say those state governments have done too little in the wake of the Tucson and Virginia Tech shootings. And certainly, the people in this moving video of victims' families, would agree.
(Disclosure: this video was sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and produced by my husband & his firm)