News and Tribune


April 29, 2013

HOWEY: Majority support gun background checks



In the cross tabs, 76.7 percent of men favor the expansion and 89 percent of women. Among Republicans, 77.7 percent favored expansion and just 19.4 percent opposed. Among independents, 77.2 percent supported and 21.9 percent opposed and among Democrats it was 94.5 percent to 3.8 percent.

Let’s look at Republican women: 86.2 percent support the background checks and 70.4 percent “strongly favor.”

As in any poll, there is data that seems to collide. When we asked, in general, do you feel the laws covering the sale of guns should be more strict, less strike or the same, 45 percent said more strict, 8 percent less strict and 47 percent said keep them the same. With respondents in households with guns, 36 percent said more strict, 10 percent less strict and 54 percent wanted to keep the status quo. In non-gun households, 59 percent wanted stricter laws, 4 percent less strict and 37 percent the same.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column saying I just couldn’t understand how expanding background checks is an infringement on Second Amendment rights. But every Republican Member of the Indiana Congressional delegation brought that up as a qualifier, and Sen. Dan Coats ultimately lined up against Manchin-Toomey.

“While I appreciate the good-faith effort of Senators Manchin and Toomey, I am concerned their legislation would result in more problems with our existing background check system and would not address the underlying issues with gun violence,” Coats explained.

Coats is three years away from reelection, and while he gets an “A” from the Indiana NRA, his national rating is a C+. To his credit, his new legislative effort seeks to fix the current background check system and address mental health and school safety issues. But you wonder how his political team processes numbers like these.

When we asked the question, how often does the NRA reflect your views on guns, 10 percent said always, 30 percent said most of the time, 30 percent said only some of the time, and 30 percent said never. If you combine the “some of the time” (which you could reasonably expect to find strong support for the background checks our top lines suggest, and the “never” crowd), that’s 60 percent.

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