Map: Most Americans Support Background Checks for All Gun Buyers

See if voters in your state are behind universal background checks.

The Senate finally struck a deal Wednesday for expanding background checks for gun buyers. Although lawmakers say they don’t want to force background checks on private transactions, a recent poll conducted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that an average of 86 percent of voters in 21 states support mandatory background checks for all gun sales, no matter where the gun is sold or who’s selling it.

Here’s a map based on the data. Click on a state to see the grade the National Rifle Association gives its senators.

Background checks look at information like a buyer’s criminal record, citizenship, some mental-health records, and whether or he or she has been dishonorably discharged from the military. Since 1998, about two percent of background checks have led to gun purchases being denied.

Erika Soto Lamb, a spokesperson for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, says that the organization only polled voters in states that it considers to be key in next year’s congressional elections (about 600 people in each state were polled). The group also polled 41 congressional districts and found that on average, 89 percent of voters in all of the districts support mandatory background checks. “We haven’t ruled out any future [polling] that will help us make the case for background checks and other common sense gun law reforms that Americans overwhelmingly support,” Lamb says.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.