Thursday, April 18, 2013

Senate Vote Kills Gun Safety Bill--Did they Vote their People's Wishes?

The Senate just voted down a proposal to create a system of universal background checks on gun purchases, thus closing the so-called "gun show loophole" and "straw purchases." On an issue where 85-90% of the public supports such a bill, did those senators vote the wishes of the people they were elected to support? The vote was highly partisan--in a 54-46 vote, 4 Democrats voted against the bill, while 39 Republicans voted against it. Those senators are listed below, by state.

Some have argued that while the high support for background checks represent national majorities, they do not represent the states from where these senators come. However, that is simply not the case--the high support for background checks has held across states, in those polls that list results by state. For example, this recent poll shows that even in states that went for Romney in the last election, there is still high support for background checks. Republican senators in those states still voted against the bill.

SenatorStatePopulation supporting background checks for gun purchases
Alexander TNNo data
Ayotte NH89%
Barrasso WYNo data
Baucus MT79%
Begich AK90%
Blunt MO85%
Boozman AR84%
Burr NC90%
Chambliss GA91%
Coats IN89%
Coburn OK87%
Cochran MSNo data
Corker TNNo data
Cornyn TXNo data
Crapo IDNo data
Cruz TXNo data
Enzi WYNo data
Fischer NENo data
Flake AZ90%
Graham SCNo data
Grassley IA88%
Hatch UT83%
Heitkamp ND94%
Heller NV86%
Hoeven ND94%
Inhofe OK87%
Isakson GA91%
Johanns NENo data
Johnson WINo data
Lee UT83%
McConnell KY82%
Moran KSNo data
Murkowski AK60%
Paul KY82%
Portman OH83%
Pryor AR84%
Reid NV86%
Risch IDNo data
Roberts KSNo data
Rubio FL91%
Scott SCNo data
Sessions ALNo data
Shelby ALNo data
Thune SDNo data
Vitter LA85%
Wicker MSNo data

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