In a Twitter video that has since gone viral, NBA basketball coach Steve Kerr is seen so shaken up over the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday that he can’t even talk about basketball.
Instead, the Golden State Warriors coach chastises politicians in Congress for failing—time and again and again and again—to enact sensible gun control measures that might help prevent some of these devastating shootings. In the impassioned speech, Kerr cites a statistic that 90% of Americans support criminal background checks for gun purchases.
Kerr is correct.
Although the exact percentages have wavered over the years, polls consistently show that most Americans believe current gun laws are not restrictive enough—and basic remedies, such as background checks, enjoy broad support among both Democrats and Republicans. Kerr may have been citing a Suffolk University/USA Today poll from 2019, in which 90% of registered voters said they support background checks. It’s by no means the only poll that demonstrates how badly Americans want this to happen. Consider the following:
- Morning Consult, March 2021: 84% of voters support background checks, including 77% of Republicans.
- Politico/Morning Consult, last week: 59% of Americans said passing stricter gun control laws was either somewhat or very important.
- Gallup, March 2018: 92% favor background checks for all gun sales.
- Quinnipiac, 2019: “Support for universal background checks has ranged from 88 to 97 percent in every Quinnipiac University poll since February 2013, in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.”
Some Democrats in Congress are once again trying to push this issue forward, although their efforts are likely to be frustratingly and predictably thwarted. Two bills have already passed the House—one that would expand background checks and another that would lengthen the waiting time for a background check—but they’ve stalled in the Senate in the face of Republican opposition. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer appeared to suggest that a vote on the bills would not happen anytime soon, and instead hinted toward the “all too slim” prospect of a bipartisan solution at some point in the future.
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