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“Pass These Bills:” New Polling Shows Overwhelming Support for Universal Background Checks

Washington, D.C., March 10, 2021 - New polling released today by Morning Consult and Politico again confirms that the American people want to strengthen the background check system. The survey, conducted between March 6 and March 8, 2021, finds that 84 percent of voters, including over three-quarters of Republicans and 82 percent of Independents, support a law requiring a background check for all firearm purchases.

This polling confirms the need to pass the common-sense gun violence prevention bills under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, the latter of which would address the so-called ‘Charleston Loophole.’ Morning Consult and Politico found that by a large margin, a plurality of voters support closing that loophole, which allowed the shooter in the 2015 mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina to acquire his firearm. Brady continues to urge all members of the House of Representatives to vote for these common-sense, and clearly popular, bills, and was joined by 25 national organizations in an open letter urging all representatives to do so.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“This poll shows what we already knew: the American people want common-sense gun violence prevention reforms. There are few, if any, issues in American life that garner as much or as bipartisan support as requiring a background check for every firearm sale precisely because the American people understand that we must ensure that guns do not fall into the hands of those who should not possess them. Gun laws are public safety laws and, following a year of surging gun violence, the American people continue to demand that their elected officials work to make our nation safer.

Brady reiterates its call for the House of Representatives to pass these bills without delay. It is what their constituents demand.”

About this Poll:

Conducted from March 6 to March 8, 2021 by Morning Consult and Politico, the survey polled 1,990 registered voters, with a margin of error of 2 percentage points. Results include:

  • 84 percent of voters, including 77 percent of Republicans, support requiring a background check for all gun purchases

  • A plurality, 48 percent, of voters support ending the policy that allows gun dealers to complete a sale if the FBI has not completed a background check in three days, while only 38 percent opposed. This includes 50 percent of Independent voters.

About H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act

Introduced on March 2, 2021, by Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), H.R. 8, or the Bipartisan Background Checks Ac, makes it unlawful to sell or transfer a firearm in any transaction without a Brady Background Check. This bill expands the current Brady Law to every sale or transfer in private sales, subject to the narrow exceptions.

About H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act

Introduced on March 2, 2021, by Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC-6), H.R. 1446 provides the background check system with additional time to make a final determination on a potential firearms purchaser before a licensed dealer can transfer a gun, closing the so-called “Charleston loophole.”

Currently, federal law allows a “default proceed,” whereby a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL) can transfer a gun to a customer if the federal background check is not completed within 3 business days of the background check request to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The Charleston loophole is named for the 2015 mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine innocent people. The shooter – who was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm – was able to acquire his gun before the FBI could complete his background check. Although the FBI needed more time to investigate the shooter’s disqualifying records to determine whether the purchase was lawful, federal law allowed the dealer to transfer the gun after three days even though the check was not completed.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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