A new survey from a University of California-Davis professor shows that even a majority of gun sellers support background checks. Looking at 1,601 federally licensed gun dealers in 2011, Director of UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program Garen Wintemute found that 55 percent support comprehensive background checks, despite the NRA’s position against it. Wintemute found high levels of support for denying guns to people convicted of assault and robbery, as well as those with alcohol abuse and serious mental illnesses.
When the author began his survey in 2011, he says he received a warning from the National Rifle Association urging members not to participate. An NRA member himself, Wintemute showed Al Jazeera America the email sent, though it appears gun dealers did not heed the NRA’s warning:
If you are a federally licensed dealer in firearms, you may recently have received a survey questionnaire from gun control supporter Dr. Garen Wintemute, of the University of California, Davis.
Why is Dr. Wintemute sending the survey? Consider the source. Over the years, he has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from anti-gun organizations to conduct “studies” designed to promote gun control.
While the NRA claims Wintemute is backed by more powerful special interests, the NRA is the giant by any measure, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, thanks to the NRA’s success banning Center for Disease Control funding, there is virtually no funding for gun violence research. As a result, researchers have chosen unusual routes to pursue data on gun deaths, including going as far as crowdsourcing his or her own research.
Even though more than 90 percent of the public and 74 percent of NRA members back universal background checks, the Senate rejected the simple gun violence reform in April. Under current law, only federally licensed gun dealers must comply with background screenings, leaving out about 40 percent of guns sold through private sales.