For example, the Luntz survey and others show that gun owners and even NRA members strongly support Brady criminal background checks for all gun sales at gun shows, and also strongly support keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.
Specifically, 82% of NRA members supported prohibiting people on the “Terrorist Watch List” from buying guns. 69% of NRA members supported requiring Brady criminal background checks for all gun sales at gun shows.
NRA leaders oppose both of these policies. This means they are ignoring not only the wishes of the American people but also their own dues-paying members by blocking these and other policies that would help save lives.
The Luntz survey isn’t the only one that shows how out-of-step NRA leaders are with the rest of their claimed constituency.
After Election Day in November 2008, the Brady Campaign commissioned a survey of voters, conducted by the firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland. In that poll, 84% of gun-owning voters favored Brady criminal background checks for all gun sales, while 60% of gun-owning voters even favored the registration of gun sales and the licensing of gun owners.
Data that is now 20 years old tells us much the same thing about the preferences of NRA members on specific gun violence prevention policies. Two researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined survey data collected in a 1989 TIME Magazine/CNN survey, and in a peer-reviewed study, the researchers concluded:
[T]he support for the NRA is strongest when measured in very general terms…. However, when gun owners are asked about specific regulatory requirements, they often support the regulation, disagreeing with the stated position of the organization [the NRA]. This finding holds for both NRA members and nonmembers.
For at least 20 years the NRA’s leaders have misrepresented to elected officials the feelings of their members on a range of reasonable measures that would help reduce gun violence.
In the face of stubborn data like this, it is time for Congress to start listening to the American people – including NRA members and gun owners – instead of responding to the dictates of NRA bosses.