Home > Gun rights, Rights > Do 90% of Americans truly support stricter background checks for gun purchases?

Do 90% of Americans truly support stricter background checks for gun purchases?

April 19, 2013

During his speech earlier this week President Obama stated the following:

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.

This figure seems kind of odd. It’s hard to get 90% of the country to agree on anything. This is especially true for highly emotional topics such as gun control. So where did the President get this number? No matter which side of the debate a person fall on they should try to understand this unbelievably high statistic.

This number comes from a Gallup poll. Here is the section being touted by the President and many gun control advocates:


The question is a bit misleading. Read the questions carefully. Here are the two parts of the question put together:

Please say whether you favor or oppose: A law which would require background checks before people — including gun dealers — could buy guns at gun shows.

This question takes advantage of a lot of misinformation out there about the “gun show loophole”. Looking close at this sentence you will notice it does not ask whether there should be a background check when a gun dealer sells a gun. That is because it is already the law that gun dealers must have the buyer fill out a background check before selling any gun to that person, including at gun shows.

If you are at a gun show and purchase a gun you will likely have to fill out the background check paperwork. On the odd chance that you don’t have to do a background check it is because you are buying the gun from a private collector that is slimming down his/her collection.

This question is actually asking if the dealers should be able to buy guns without a background check? But because of word trickery it is re-enforcing a misconception that loopholes in the law are allowing gun shows to operate completely unregulated as if it were the old west.

Just remember when Obama and his legion of followers tout this “90% of Americans support increased background checks” that they are using a statistic from a nonsensical question.

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