Gun Owners and Others Agree on Need for Better Laws

(Bloomberg) -- A new survey released today by the American Public Health Association offers confirmation of something rare and valuable in American life: consensus.

In a large poll taken in January, gun owners and non-gun owners expressed similar levels of support for a host of firearm regulations. For example, 87.8 percent of respondents backed universal background checks; 84.8 percent supported temporarily rescinding the licenses of rogue gun dealers; 83.6 percent agreed with requiring states to report prohibited persons to the background-check system.

Red-flag laws (creating a civil process to remove firearms from an individual deemed dangerous to himself or others) command overwhelming support. Prohibitions on gun ownership by persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders command overwhelming support.

Note that most gun owners, as well as most of those who don’t own guns, support all five of those policies. For 16 of the 24 policies tested in the poll, the gap in support between gun owners and non-gun owners was less than 10 percentage points.

Standing outside this consensus is the National Rifle Association, which continues to wage a crusade to undermine even the mildest regulation. The NRA claims to speak for gun owners, but polls have consistently shown that most gun owners disagree with its apocalyptic worldview and political extremism.

Sensible gun legislation is making progress in many state capitals. Lawmakers in Washington — and in all state capitals, not just some — should start listening to the public.

To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net.

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