There has been a growing chorus of calls in recent days for stricter federal gun laws, including from some conservatives.
What You Need To Know
- There has been a growing chorus of calls in recent days for stricter federal gun laws, including from some conservatives
- On Thursday, a coalition of nearly 900 small-business owners, executives and entrepreneurs released a letter imploring the Senate to strengthen background checks
- On Sunday, a letter from more than 250 conservatives, mostly from Texas, expressing support for gun reform was published as a full-page ad in The Dallas Morning News
- A pair of polls released this week also show there is a growing appetite for gun reform
Just this week, there have been at least two open letters, with about 1,100 signatures in total, calling on Congress to pass gun control legislation.
On Thursday, a coalition of nearly 900 small-business owners, executives and entrepreneurs released a letter imploring the Senate to strengthen background checks.
They wrote that businesses lose $1.4 million every day in productivity, revenue and costs related to gun violence. They also said communities that experience regular gun violence are less likely to attract new businesses, investment, customers and talent.
“Mass shootings and daily gun violence take place in locations that are vital to our economy and our communities — like retail stores, grocery stores, movie theaters and nightclubs — and are becoming a tragic reality for our employees and our customers,” the letter says.
The business leaders wrote that gun purchases made through unlicensed dealers should be subjected to the same background checks that are required for federally licensed dealers.
On Sunday, a letter from more than 250 conservatives, mostly from Texas, expressing support for gun reform was published as a full-page ad in The Dallas Morning News.
The ad was paid for by retired JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive Todd Maclin.
The letter applauded Sen. John Cornyn of Texas for leading Republicans in bipartisan talks on gun legislation. Those who signed the letter said they were “especially encouraged” Cornyn is focusing on red flag laws and expanded background checks and added they also would like to see the minimum legal age to buy any gun raised to 21.
“In the few days since Uvalde, our group has organized and our numbers are growing. Republican voters from Texas and beyond, gun enthusiasts, conservatives willing to take a fresh look at the cause of gun violence, willing to try new ways and new technologies to improve gun safety and better fight the incidences of mass killings and street homicides,” the letter said. “The issues are very complicated and demand thoughtful non-political solutions.”
Maclin told Reuters that as of Tuesday more than 600 gun-owning Republicans have joined the group. The list includes some high-level Republican donors.
A spate of recent mass shootings — including at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — has put more pressure on Congress to pass gun restrictions.
The Democratic-led House passed legislation Wednesday that would raise the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic centerfire rifles from 18 to 21; make it illegal to sell, import, manufacture or possess most large-capacity magazines; ban straw purchases of guns; crack down on so-called “ghost guns” that lack serial numbers; build on the administration’s executive action banning fast-action “bump-stock” devices; and establish requirements for storing firearms at homes.
The bill, however, faces long odds in the Senate, where it would need support from at least 10 Republicans to receive a vote.
A bipartisan group of senators, which includes Cornyn, has been negotiating on their own potential bill that would stand a better chance of passing. That package is likely to include expanded background checks, incentives for states to implement red flag laws, and measures to strengthen school safety and mental health programs.
A pair of polls released this week also show there is a growing appetite for gun reform.
A survey released Tuesday, conducted by NPR, “PBS NewsHour” and Marist University, found that 59% of U.S. adults believe it’s more important to control gun violence than protect gun rights — the highest percentage in nearly a decade. Thirty-five percent said protecting gun rights is more important.
The poll, however, still had a stark political divide. Ninety-two percent of Democrats said they thought curbing gun violence was the higher priority, compared to 20% of Republicans and 54% of independents.
Another poll, released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, found that 74% of Americans favor raising the minimum gun-buying age to 21 .
Fifty-seven percent of those polled said they support stricter gun laws, compared to 38% who oppose them. In November, 45% said they favored new gun regulations, while 49% said they did not.
That poll, too, found a wide disparity between liberals and conservatives.
Ninety-one percent of Democrats said they want tougher gun laws. Sixty-four percent of Republicans said they oppose them.
Read More: Open letters, polls show growing appetite for gun reform