When the Senate failed to overcome a filibuster to pass a background check bill in April, the gallery was filled with the families of victims from Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site where 20 children were gunned down. One by one, parents walked away from the vote deeply disappointed, but everyone agreed they were not defeated; they would be back.
And a new Pew Research Center Poll shows the American public is on their side.
More than 80 percent of Americans still support expanding background checks and closing the so-called gun show loophole, and 73 percent say the Senate should try again to stop individuals from buying guns without background checks.
The background check bill, drafted by Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was narrowly written to require that all purchasers who bought firearms at gun shows or over the Internet would be subjected to a background check. But concerns over whether the bill would pose too much of a burden on purchasers was a top concern among members who support gun rights, such as Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Max Baucus, D-Mont. And the looming election didn't help quell concerns for other NRA-backed members who will have to face voters in 2014.
That is in part why 56 percent of those polled said they were not optimistic that a background check bill or any other significant gun legislation to limit assault weapons or high-capacity magazines would pass out of Congress this year.
While support is high for expanding background checks, a closer look at the data reveals that gun-control and pro-gun individuals are not overwhelmingly lobbying Congress to do what they want. Only 9 percent of gun-control advocates and 11 percent of pro-gun folks actually contacted their leaders and urged them to vote one way or another since December.
The poll also revealed that pro-gun voters are much more likely to base their electoral decisions on the Second Amendment.
Nearly 50 percent of pro-gun individuals would vote for a candidate based solely off their stance on guns, whereas only 37 percent of liberal Democrats
would abandon a liberal candidate if they were not a proponent of stricter gun-control measures.
The poll was conducted between May 1 to May 5 and included more than 1,000 adults in all 50 states.