Guns: Background checks overwhelmingly supported

Published 6:47 am Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Free Press, Mankato

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The evidence has been gathered. The vast majority of Minnesotans favors universal background checks and a smaller majority favors a ban on semi-automatic weapons, both measures to enhance public safety in the age of AR-15s and mass shootings.

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A recent poll by the Star Tribune showed 80 percent of those polled — no matter their party — favor universal background checks for the thousands of guns sold online without them and at private sales where guns are sometimes exchanged among known criminals.

Unlike previous polls, where support for new proposed gun laws diverged along geographic lines, some 88 percent of those polled in Hennepin and Ramsey counties favored expanding background checks while 81 percent in rural areas supported the checks.

In addition, 75 percent of Republicans favored expanded background checks while 77 percent of independent voters favored the checks. Some 97 percent of Democrats support the background checks.

A ban on military-style weapons such as the AR-15 drew support from 58 percent of those polled, with 36 percent opposed and 6 percent undecided.

The assault-style weapons have proliferated with many being used in recent mass shootings. Experts estimate 20 million such weapons are on the street since the ban on them was lifted in 2004.

That ban had come about in relation to the attempted assassination of Republican President Ronald Reagan and the severe injuring of his aide James Brady. The ban on the weapons, called the Brady Bill, was bipartisan and succeeded in removing thousands of the weapons from circulation.

We miss sensible people in Congress.

We can only keep providing members of Congress from both parties who oppose these common-sense gun safety measures with the facts.

They’re out of step with a growing number of Americans who want to see public safety instead of public slaughter.