National surveys taken since 2016 have found that the overwhelming majority of Americans support universal background checks for all firearm purchases. The debate over mandatory background checks has flared up following the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
On the night of Oct. 1, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Nevada allegedly began firing into a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of a hotel-casino on the Las Vegas strip. The suspect killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 others.
Police found 23 firearms in Paddock's hotel room, and investigators found 19 other firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition in the suspect's home in Mesquite, Nevada. Authorities have not yet determined the shooter's motivation, CBS News reports.
Law enforcement currently believes that Paddock obtained his firearms legally. In Nevada, people do not need a permit to purchase a firearm and there is no limit to the number of firearms that a person can buy in bulk. The state also allows for people to own assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
In November 2016, Nevada voters passed a ballot measure requiring background checks for private firearm sales, but the measure was halted before implementation by the state attorney general, according to CNN.
On Oct. 2, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele took to social media to assert that lawmakers should pass legislation to make background checks mandatory.
"Americans have overwhelmingly supported common sense gun reform," Abele, who is a registered Democrat, tweeted out. "90 percent support universal background checks. Elected officials must act."
Fact-checking website PolitiFact rated Abele's statement as true, noting that six national surveys about gun laws conducted between January 2016 and June 2017 found that American adults supported universal background checks by a range of 84 percent to 94 percent.
On June 28, a Quinnipiac University Poll found that 94 percent of registered voters supported background checks for all gun buyers. Furthermore, 98 percent of Democrats supported universal background checks, as did 93 percent of Republicans.
On Oct. 2, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a vocal advocate for stricter gun laws following the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting, announced that he would introduce legislation to bolster background checks for firearm transactions, Politico reports.
"It's time for Congress to get off its a*s and do something," Murphy said in a statement.
That same day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated during a press conference that the Trump administration would not support "laws that won't create or stop these type of [shootings] from happening."