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Poll finds 90 percent of voters support background checks. But respondents don’t expect Congress to act

Protesters held up signs outside Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, as President Trump visited with victims of a mass shooting.Maddie McGarvey/The New York Times

There’s near-universal support for requiring background checks on all gun sales in the United States, according to a new nationwide poll from USA TODAY and Suffolk University, but only 23 percent said they think Congress will pass gun control legislation in the next year.

Ninety percent of poll respondents said they were in favor of requiring background checks, according to the poll, which was conducted in late August and released on Monday as Congress returns from recess.

The poll also found support for other gun control measures, including banning high capacity magazines (58 percent), banning the sale of some assault weapons, including the AK-47 and AR-15 (60 percent), and establishing “red flag” laws that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others (69 percent).


But the survey found respondents did not have high confidence in Congress to pass such meaures. Asked whether they believed Congress will pass “any significant gun-control legislation” in the next year, 68 percent said no.

Gun control is at the center of the conversation as Congress returns from a six-week recess that saw mass shootings in Odessa, Texas, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. All told, 38 people were killed in those shootings and dozens more wounded.

An AK-47 was usedin the El Paso shooting, and the guns used in the Odessa and Dayton shootings have been described as “AR-15-style” weapons. The poll was conducted before the Odessa shooting happened on Aug. 31.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would not bring any gun control legislation to the floor without assurances that President Trump would sign it. But Trump has backtracked after expressing support for background checks and other measures.

The USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll was conducted Aug. 20 through Aug. 25 among 1,000 registered voters and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.


Christina Prignano can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.