The findings, which also show broad bipartisan support for
requiring mandatory background checks to purchase firearms at gun shows,
come as President Obama said Monday he will lay out specific White
House proposals on gun control legislation and executive actions this
Obama has pledged to champion broad new reforms in the wake
of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.,
last month that killed 26, including 20 students. He is scheduled to
receive a list of proposals on Tuesday from Vice President Biden, who is
leading a task force on gun violence.
But most congressional
Republicans, and some Democrats, have said they are opposed to
restrictive new measures, such as an assault weapons ban.
aides have said the president is likely to include a call for a renewed
ban on the most powerful rifles even in the face of heavy opposition
from the National Rifle Association. In the poll, 58 percent of
Americans support the ban, which expired in 2004 after 10 years as the
law; 39 percent oppose it.
“My starting point is not to worry
about the politics but to focus on what makes sense and what works,”
Obama said at a news conference Monday. “What should we be doing to make
sure our children are safe and reduce incidents of gun violence? We can
do it in a way that comports with the Second Amendment.”
declined to be specific when asked what recourse he has if Congress were
to reject the ban, saying that “members of Congress must have a debate
and examine their own conscience.”
While the poll, produced for the Post by Capital Insight,
showed cross-party support for some potential new policies, there was a
sharp divide on others, particularly over how much emphasis the Obama
administration and Congress should place on addressing gun issues.
and Republicans both see the economy as the clear top priority, but
while most Democrats also rank gun control as one of the highest
priorities for federal action, few Republicans — or independents —
agree. Most Republicans say enacting stricter gun laws should be a lower
priority, or not a priority at all.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) on Monday called on Obama and Congress to
put in place strict new gun control measures in the wake of Newtown.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) also unveiled plans for an assault
rifle ban and tougher gun licensing requirements in his state.
Recent polls have shown broadly positive sentiment for the NRA itself,
but the new poll reveals a far more mixed verdict on its leadership.
Some 36 percent express favorable views of the leadership of the NRA,
while more, 44 percent, say they have unfavorable impressions. A sizable
proportion, 20 percent, say they have no opinion.