While the president’s party is now different, a look at the voting and election results shows us that it is still unlikely that Democrats will be able to break through enough Senate Republicans to film for a universal background check.
1. Americans do not think Democrats reflect their views on guns
If the public was troubled by the GOP’s stance on guns, they would trust Democrats more to deal with gun policy.
To be clear, these numbers are close, and no party has a consistent edge over the issue in the past decade. Nevertheless, this is inconsistent with the belief that the public is standing behind Democrats on guns.
2. Stricter gun control is largely not all that popular
Just 41% were dissatisfied and wanted stricter gun laws. A plurality (50%) was either satisfied (42%) or dissatisfied and desired relaxed gun law (8%). The percentages on this question of Gallup have remained relatively stable over the last two decades.
We cannot believe that these two similar but different questions came up with very different results. At the very least, it shows that gun opinions are not held as tightly as you might believe.
It is also likely that some people who may support more gun control measures are largely satisfied with our nation’s gun laws and do not feel strongly about the issue.
3. Passion remains on the anti-gun control side
Those for whom gun control was a major issue in the 2020 election were more likely to be in favor of the Republican presidential ticket.
The fact that the obsession was on the anti-gun control side is what we have seen in voting almost every year. With a few exceptions, those who are loosely in favor of gun control are more willing to vote on the issue and are more likely to spend time than those who favor strong gun control.
4. Background check ballot measures do not consistently improve Democratic baseline
When different measures for gun control are actually on the ballot, they often get closer to an issue in which people reach slightly higher heights on the right than the Republican baseline in the state.
In all four cases, the margin of the pro-gun control side was worse than the Democratic baseline in the state for a given year (Hillary Clinton’s margin in 2016 and House Democrat’s margin in 2018). In 2016, Clinton won California by 30 points, while gun control won by 27 points. In Maine, Clinton won by 3 points, while gun control lost by 4 points. In Nevada, Clinton won by 2 points, while gun control passed by one point. In the end, Washington passed its gun control law by slightly less than 19 points in 2018, but House Democratic candidates in Washington won more and more in the same year.
The bottom line is that Republicans have no reason to change their tune on gun control based on voting and election results. Until something dramatic changes happen, we see no possibility of any action on gun control from Congress Republicans.