WASHINGTON -- A survey of National Rifle Association members and non-affiliated gun owners conducted by a prominent Republican pollster shows that there is broad support for certain provisions that would restrict the sale of guns.
According to a study unveiled at the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, 82 percent of 945 self-identified gun owners said they support requiring criminal background checks for gun purchasers. The sample was divided evenly between gun owners who were current or lapsed members of the NRA and non-NRA gun owners. 74 percent of the NRA members said they support the background checks.
The study, which was conducted in May by GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, revealed the following data points as well:
- 74 percent of NRA members believe concealed carry permits should only be granted to applicants who have completed gun safety training.
- 68 percent of NRA members believe concealed carry permits should only be granted to applicants who do not have prior arrests for domestic violence.
- 63 percent of NRA members believe concealed carry permits should only be granted to applicants 21 years of age or older.
- 75 percent of NRA members believe that concealed carry permits should be granted only to those applicants who have not committed any violent misdemeanors.
Taken in full, the numbers cut against the conventional wisdom, which holds that there is little political will for tackling gun control legislation in the wake of Friday's shooting in Aurora, Colo. But that theory, the study's authors insisted, was always based on a false reading of the public opinion data.
“Gun owners and NRA members overwhelmingly support common sense steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, even as the NRA leadership continues to oppose them,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which commissioned the study. “It’s time for those in Washington -– and those running for President –- to stand with gun owning citizens who are concerned about public safety, rather than influence peddling lobbyists who are obsessed with ideology."
An equally telling feature of the study is the pollster who put it together. While Luntz's work on the topic alongside Bloomberg's group and the liberal Center for American Progress may seem like the personification of a strange-bedfellows coalition, Luntz explained that his ideological bent is towards sensible gun laws.
"I grew up in an NRA family and strongly believe in Second Amendment rights," he told The Huffington Post in an email. "But I don't believe that anyone with a felony record should automatically be able to own a gun. I don't believe in absolutes."
Clarification: Language has been added to the bullet points above to specify that the survey addressed concealed carry permits.