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New Poll of Women Voters Shows Widespread Support for Stronger Gun Laws, Including Closing Loopholes That Allow Abusive Dating Partners and Stalkers to Get Guns


As the first-ever Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on guns and violence against women gets underway, Everytown for Gun Safety today released a new poll of likely 2014 women voters that shows overwhelming support for background checks and strong support for an expansion of the definition of abuser to include dating partners and stalkers to prohibit them from legally buying and possessing guns, which Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act (S. 1290) would do.  Key findings of the poll, which can be found here, include:

  • Almost all (93%) women support background checks for all gun purchases, with eight in ten (81%) strongly supporting the measure. Republican and Independent women agree, as 89% favor universal background checks, including nearly three-fourths (74%) who strongly favor.
  • 81% of women say they favor a proposal to extend the definition of abuser to include dating partners and stalkers to prohibit them from legally buying and possessing guns. Republican and Independent women are about as likely to support the proposal (77%).
  • More women say they would reward, not punish, a candidate who supports expanding the definition of abuser.  By 3-to-1, women are more likely to vote for a candidate supporting this proposal than one who opposes it.

“Elected officials should take notice: American women overwhelmingly support reasonable public safety measures like background checks that will save women’s lives – and we will vote for candidates who support these reforms,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety.  “Progress is underway – just this year we helped pass laws in six states that will keep guns out of abusers’ hands.  Today we turn to the U.S. Senate to urge our political leaders to support legislation that will protect women from abusers and stalkers – let’s not leave American women vulnerable to gun violence when stronger laws can help save lives.”

“There is a deadly relationship between violence against women and guns in America – the proof is the 48 women who are shot to death every month by a current or former husband or boyfriend,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety.  “Our lax gun laws make it easy for abusive dating partners and stalkers to get and keep guns.  Senator Klobuchar’s bill would close this loophole and, as our new poll out today shows, it has the support of 81 percent of American women.  It’s time for our leaders in the U.S. Senate to act.”

Purple Strategies conducted 800 phone interviews with likely 2014 women voters nationwide and an additional oversample of 200 Republican or Independent female voters. Live interviews were conducted July 22 – July 27, 2014. Thirty percent of the interviews were conducted on respondents’ cell phones, and 70 percent on landline phones. The margin of error is +/- 3.5% for all women and +/-3.9% for the Republican and independent subgroup.

Yesterday Everytown released a new television and online advertisement depicting a harrowing encounter of domestic abuse and gun violence.  The ad, which can be seen here, will air on cable television in Washington, D.C., and also on network television in Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire where the ad calls specifically on Senators Jeff Flake (AZ), Dean Heller (NV) and Kelly Ayotte (NH) to stop violence against women.  Everytown is joined in Washington this week by nearly two dozen domestic violence survivors and advocates from across the country urging members of Congress to protect women.

In just the first half of 2014, Everytown and Moms Demand Action have worked with domestic violence prevention advocates to pass important bills in six states that will help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. These measures have been passed by state houses with bipartisan support and signed into law by governors of both parties, including both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.