By now it's well- known that 90 percent of the American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun. We're talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness.
Ninety percent of Americans support that idea. Most Americans think that's already the law.
Ninety percent of the public supports this but the President couldn't push it through a Democratic-led Senate? That is a stunning failure of leadership and leaves one wondering whether Obama could organize a beer bash for thirsty sailors on the 4th of July.
But maybe his leadership is not so dismal, and it is his honesty (or knowledge) that is at issue. What do detailed polls actually show about support for background checks? CNN polled on this question in early April with interesting results:
According to the poll, 89% of Americans support the background checks already on the books - those required for purchases at gun stores and other businesses that sell guns. Three proposals, covering gun shows, person-to-person sales, and transfers between family members, would add to the existing laws, and 86% of Americans support at least one of those three additional checks.
The most popular is the gun show proposal, which 83% of all Americans support. Seven in ten favor background checks on prospective buyers trying to purchase a gun from another person who is not a gun dealer but owns a gun and wants to sell it. Least popular is a proposal to require background checks for buyers who are purchasing a gun from a family member or receiving it as a gift. Support for that proposal drops to 54% - still a majority, but not as popular as gun show requirements.
Let's put that as a graphic from PollingReports.com:
So when our peerless leader says that "90 percent of the American people support universal background checks" he really means that roughly 90% support the current law and a bare majority favor extending that law to family transfers.
I wonder if he knows he is wrong about this?
Well. If I were giving Obama advice I would say that in the same way that the best can be the enemy of the good, the stupidest can be the enemy of the marginally plausible. The assault weapons ban was a political non-starter that labelled its supporters (including Obama) as laughably ignorant on basic gun design and basic Constitutional issues. That inclusion tends to poison the subsequent conversation.
But don't take my word for it! Here is the NY Times describing Sen. Feinstein's debacle:
Almost immediately after the murders in Newtown, gun control advocates and the Democratic leadership in the Senate decided that legislation strengthening background checks for gun purchases was their best avenue for success. (Though in a sign of how they miscalculated over all, that measure was also defeated on Wednesday, falling five votes short.)
An assault weapons ban was never going to attract senators like Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, with A ratings from the National Rifle Association, whose support would be needed for a compromise. And Democrats now privately complain that Ms. Feinstein’s bill seemed to rally gun control opponents, who could point to it as Exhibit A in what they perceived as a federal conspiracy to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bipartisan effort to expand background checks is in deep trouble as the Senate approaches a long-awaited vote on the linchpin of the drive to curb gun violence. As the showdown draws near, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows ebbing public support for tightening gun control laws.
Perhaps helping explain Democrats' problems, an AP-GfK poll this month showed that 49 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws. That was down from 58 percent who said so in January -- a month after the December killings of 20 children and six aides at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school propelled gun violence into a national issue.
When "stricter laws" includes fantasy and nonsense the public may lose a bit of the nuance. Add to that Obama's ongoing inability to move the needle and here we are. On to immigration reform!
CANDOR: Here is Obama using the same stale stats to make the case for expanded background checks:
All it did was extend the same background check rules that already apply to guns purchased from a dealer to guns purchased at gun shows or over the Internet. So 60 percent of guns are already purchased through a background check system.
This would have covered a lot of the guns that are currently outside that system.
I think he is impenetrable on this one, but it certainly adds irony to this:
But instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.
We know what he is but what are they?