Oh wait, they DO. In a poll run by Frank Luntz, himself an NRA supporter, at the behest of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. As E. J. Dionne writes in Beyond the NRA's absolutism in today's, Washington Post:
In his survey of 832 gun owners, including 401 NRA members, Luntz found that 82 percent of NRA members supported "prohibiting people on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns." Sixty-nine percent favored "requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people buying guns," and 78 percent backed "requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen." Among gun owners who did not belong to the NRA, the numbers were even higher.
They may oppose a national gun registry (59%), and think Obama
"will attempt to ban the sales of guns in the United States at some point while he is president." Asked about this, 44 percent of NRA members said Obama "definitely" would and 35 percent said he "probably" would.
. Yet when offer this statement, "We can do more to stop criminals from getting guns while also protecting the rights of citizens to freely own them" 86% agreed with it.
Even the "amendments" passed by Congress at the behest of Rep. Todd Tiahrt of KS, rules that
rules prevent law enforcement officials from having full access to gun trace data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and require the FBI to destroy certain background-check records after just 24 hours
are not necessary to assuage the concerns of gun owners:
The mayors' poll offered respondents this statement, antithetical to the Tiahrt rules: "The federal government should not restrict the police's ability to access, use, and share data that helps them enforce federal, state and local gun laws." Among NRA members, 69 percent agreed.
I know in posting this I will be flamed and attacked by some here. It happens any time anyone raises the issue of gun control and gun violence.
Yet there are some issues that we need to be able to discuss. One can make the argument on the basis of the number of American deaths due to guns each hear, a number that still dwarfs our deaths in our two ongoing wars.
Some will offer slippery slope arguments, that we cannot take the first such step. Others will argue for an absolutist interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, despite the fact that until the Heller case the Supreme Court had never recognized an individual right to own firearms in the 2nd Amendment.
Before people explode, let me note this: I have never found such an individual right in the 2nd Amendment, but have always believed one could derive it in the 9th Amendment, but more conservative gun advocates tend to reject the 9th Amendment because of its use to justify Roe v Wade.
The poll was done by Frank Luntz. Thus it is worth noting the following from the Dionne piece:
"I support the NRA," Luntz insists. What he doesn't go for is the "slippery slope argument" that casts any new gun law as the first step toward confiscation. "When the choice is between national security and terrorism versus no limits on owning guns," Luntz says, "I'm on the side of national security and fighting terrorism."
Most NRA members seem to agree.
I have never argued that Congress should legislate solely on the basis of public opinion polls, which can be volatile. Still, Congress is supposed to be representative of the American people. It might be worthwhile to remember that the next time we debate issues of gun control and gun safety.
There are clear lines which gun owners, including NRA members, are not willing to approach. This poll makes it obvious that both groups are willing to see significantly more control than currently exists.
Perhaps Congress should consider all dimensions of the safety of the American people and take the information of this poll as indicative that there is further action that can - and should - be taken.