gun control fight

Why Republicans defy public opinion in gun-control fight

by Mark Sappenfield,  |  published on January 21, 2013

To the surprise of precisely no one within the Beltway, the Senate’s top Republican on Saturday told people across his home state of Kentucky that – if he has his way – President Obama’s gun-control proposals won’t go anywhere.

In a taped phone call sent to Kentucky gun owners, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) said: “Know that I will be doing everything in my power as Senate Republican leader, fighting tooth and nail, to protect your Second Amendment rights, so that law-abiding citizens such as yourself can properly and adequately protect yourself, your family, and your country.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama unveiled three proposals that he urged Congress to pass: mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, a ban on assault weapons, and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

National public opinion polls show majority support for all three measures. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press found that 85 percent support for background checks, 55 percent support a ban on assault weapons, and 54 percent support a ban on high-capacity magazines.

Perhaps surprisingly, these numbers hold even in red states. A Georgia poll by Atlanta TV station WXIA, for example, mirrored the Pew poll almost exactly.

But don’t expect a backlash against Senator McConnell if he blocks Obama’s plans. After all, those aren’t the numbers that he will be looking at.

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