WPR/St. Norbert Poll Shows Support For Universal Background Checks


The latest Wisconsin Public Radio-St. Norbert College survey shows overwhelming support for universal background checks on gun purchases, and a majority of people supporting other approaches to stemming gun violence.

The survey asked about six options on gun control. The most popular was instituting a “universal background check” that would cover all gun purchases, even those between individuals.

Wendy Scattergood is with the St. Norbert College Survey Center. She says 89 percent of respondents favor the more stringent checks. The second-most popular option focused on mental health.

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“Second was increased government spending on mental-health screening and treatment. Seventy-five percent agree with that. Coming in at third was banning military-style assault weapons – 63 percent.”

A provision to outlaw assault weapons was just dropped from gun legislation in Congress. Scattergood says survey respondents also favor banning large clips of ammo, but not much support for cracking down on violence in the media or for posting armed guards in all schools.

The survey’s results are in line with another survey by Marquette University, which showed an 81 percent approval rating for the checks.

But the leader of Wisconsin’s Pro-Gun Movement says respondents may not realize the sweeping nature of the universal background checks. Jim Fendry says it could limit the sharing of guns even between family members: “Every time somebody would transfer possession of a gun, no matter how briefly, a background check would be necessary. No matter how briefly.”

The survey was done this month; it contacted 400 people by phone. See the results below, with gun data beginning on page 10.