Now that Congress has returned from its August recess, it’s facing some serious issues, but few have more public attention than gun control.
During August, there were three mass shootings. On Aug. 3, 22 people were killed and 26 others were wounded in El Paso, Texas. On Aug. 4, nine people were killed and 27 others were wounded in Dayton, Ohio. On Aug. 31, seven people were killed and 25 wounded in Odessa, Texas.
That’s 38 people killed and 78 wounded in just three incidents.
In the wake of those shootings, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll found widespread support among Americans of all walks of life “for new initiatives to curb gun violence they would like to see Congress pass,” NPR reports.
Not surprisingly, there is some division among Americans on what the best actions would be.
“Increasing funding for mental health screenings and treatment, universal background checks, red flag laws and requiring gun licenses all get broad bipartisan support as well as the support of a majority of gun owners,” NPR reports.
However, when it comes to supporting bans on high-capacity ammunition magazines and assault-style weapons such as the AK-47 or the AR-15, the bipartisan support disappears. NPR reports that over 80 percent of Democrats and independents are in support of such legislation. For Republicans, less than 40 percent would support such a move.
The poll also asked if it is more important to protect gun rights or control gun violence. Ninety percent of Democrats said control gun violence, while 69% of Republicans said protect gun rights.
This is no longer a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. It’s an American issue.
Congress is in a tough position right now, but clearly, action needs to be taken. That doesn’t mean stripping gun owners of their guns or gutting the Second Amendment.
This poll shows that there is support on both sides of the aisle for universal background checks, requiring gun licenses, and increased funding for mental health screening and treatment – and that’s a great place to start. Congress has been chasing its tail on this subject for far too long, and it’s time to see some sort of meaningful action on its part.