Laura Ingraham wrongly says claim that 90% support for gun background
checks has been debunked
Gun control advocates often cite the statistic that 90 percent of Americans support expanding background checks for gun purchases.
President Barack Obama just did it in his Jan. 1, 2016, weekly address.
But conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham says that statistic is not accurate.
"The 90 percent statistic of supporting background checks, that's been debunked," Ingraham said on Fox News Sunday on Jan. 3. "Lots of the myths about gun ownership are perpetrated by people who never much liked the Second Amendment in the first place and who have a vested interest in amassing more power in Washington, D.C."
PolitiFact has rated this 90 percent statistic Trueas recently as October. So we decided to try and figure out what Ingraham was talking about when she said this is a myth that has been debunked.
Go to the polls
Under current law, background checks are required in sales by federally licensed gun dealers, but the checks are not required for gun sales by private sellers.
National polls conducted in 2015 consistently show that around 90 percent of Americans support some sort of expanded background checks for gun purchases. Here are a few examples:
Gallup poll, conducted Oct. 7-11: "Would you favor or oppose a law which would require universal background checks for all gun purchases in the U.S. using a centralized database across all 50 states?" Favor: 86 percent. Oppose: 12 percent. Unsure: 2 percent.
For example, in 2013, polls found that 90 percent of Americans supported expanded background checks. However, when Congress failed to pass a popular bill that would have increased background checks, 47 percent were disappointed or angry that it failed, while some 39 percent were relieved or very happy, according to a Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll.
This highlights an odd discrepancy: While people overwhelmingly support specific gun policy ideas, like universal background checks and banning suspected terrorists from buying guns, the support is not as robust when it comes to actually expanding gun control.
The same October CBS/New York Times poll that found 92 percent support for expanded background checks also shows 46 percent of Americans think laws covering gun sales should be either made less strict or stay the same. Just 51 percent said the laws should be made more strict.
"People don't seem to like the idea of ‘gun control,’ but they still want the government to do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill," said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California Los Angeles and author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America.
Ingraham said, "The 90 percent statistic of supporting background checks, that's been debunked."
Numerous respected polls from 2015 show around 90 percent support for some sort of expanded background checks for gun purchases.
While there are some questions as to what inferences can be made from these findings — such as whether that 90-percent support translates into support for specific legislation — there hasn’t been a definitive debunking of the statistic.