Given a choice to vote “for” or “against” nine of President Obama’s key proposals to reform the nation’s gun laws, Americans support all of them, a new Gallup poll released Wednesday found.
Notably, Americans back criminal background checks for gun sales 91% to 8%, more mental health programs 82% to 15%, reinstating a federal assault weapons ban 60% to 35% and limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines to 10 rounds per clip 54% to 43%, the poll finds.
The poll was conducted Jan. 19-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
“The question does not tell respondents that all nine proposals come from Obama’s recently released plan to reduce gun violence; however, the wordings used to describe them intentionally follow the White House’s “Now Is the Time” plan descriptions,” Gallup says.
New York’s Assembly on Tuesday easily passed the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, calling for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats.
Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features such as folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The proposal reduces that to one feature and includes the popular pistol grip.
Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family will be subject to a background check through a dealer. New Yorkers also would be barred from buying assault weapons over the Internet, and failing to safely store a weapon could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
Ammunition magazines will be restricted to seven bullets, from the current 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines will have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine will face a misdemeanor charge.
Another provision places requirements on therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and licensed social workers who believe a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally. They would be required to report such a threat to a mental health director, who would have to notify the state. Any registered handguns — or registered assault weapons purchased before the ban — could be taken from the patient.
The legislation also increases sentences for gun crimes including the shooting of a first responder that Cuomo called the “Webster provision.” Last month in the western New York town of Webster, two firefighters were killed after responding to a fire set by the shooter, who eventually killed himself.