Map: Most Americans Support Background Checks for All Gun Buyers

See if voters in your state are behind universal background checks.

The Senate finally struck a deal Wednesday for expanding background checks for gun buyers. Although lawmakers say they don’t want to force background checks on private transactions, a recent poll conducted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that an average of 86 percent of voters in 21 states support mandatory background checks for all gun sales, no matter where the gun is sold or who’s selling it.

Here’s a map based on the data. Click on a state to see the grade the National Rifle Association gives its senators.

Background checks look at information like a buyer’s criminal record, citizenship, some mental-health records, and whether or he or she has been dishonorably discharged from the military. Since 1998, about two percent of background checks have led to gun purchases being denied.

Erika Soto Lamb, a spokesperson for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, says that the organization only polled voters in states that it considers to be key in next year’s congressional elections (about 600 people in each state were polled). The group also polled 41 congressional districts and found that on average, 89 percent of voters in all of the districts support mandatory background checks. “We haven’t ruled out any future [polling] that will help us make the case for background checks and other common sense gun law reforms that Americans overwhelmingly support,” Lamb says.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend