"Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform – like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun."
President Obama has repeatedly highlighted background checks as a point of consensus in an otherwise contentious debate over new gun proposals, and he did so again in his State of the Union address Tuesday. While the National Rifle Association has opposed expanding background checks to include private gun sales, surveys find overwhelming support for universal background checks - even among the NRA's own membership.
Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of NRA members supported requiring a background check system "for all gun sales" in a January online survey by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (respondents were recruited offline using a probability sampling method). And a January New York Times/CBS News poll found 85 percent of people in households including an NRA member said they favor a law requiring background checks for all potential gun buyers. (Read a more detailed profile of these results here).
A January Washington Post-ABC News poll found similar results: nearly nine in 10 of all Americans and those in gun-owning households supported requiring background checks on people buying firearms at gun shows.
Beyond background checks, there is little agreement between gun owners and non-gun owners on newly proposed gun restrictions. While majorities of non-gun owning households support bans on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, polls show support typically drops below half for each measure among those in gun-owning households.
Clement is a pollster with Capital Insight, the independent polling group of Washington Post Media.