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NEW GIFFORDS POLL: New Survey Shows Ohioans Back H.R. 8, Call on Their Senators to Pass Stronger Gun Safety Laws

Overwhelming majority of Ohioans support universal background checks and stronger gun laws 

Washington, DC— Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released new Ohio polling that 82% of Ohioans back H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and indicates growing support among Ohio voters for stronger gun safety laws.

As gun deaths in the U.S. reached their highest levels in decades with more than 38,000 Americans dying each year from gun violence — an average of 100 Americans every day — Ohioans are calling on Sen. Rob Portman to support background checks. 

“Two years after the tragic 2019 Dayton mass shooting, voters have made it overwhelmingly clear that they want change,” said Executive Director Peter Ambler. “Common sense gun safety laws like H.R. 8 would keep people safe, while also respecting the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners. If Sen. Portman wants to be remembered as a leader who gets things done, he needs to do everything he can to pass universal background checks.”

The study, conducted by Global Strategy Group, surveyed hundreds of 2020 Ohio voters, and outlined their preferences around background checks, as well as how likely they would be to support their representatives if they voted in favor of passing similar laws. The polling specifically focused on Sen. Portman.  

Key toplines include: 

  • Ohioans increasingly care about and support stronger gun laws. Two years after the horrific shooting in Dayton, 65% of Ohio voters say they care more about a candidate’s position on gun laws than they did in years past. 54% of these voters also want stronger federal gun laws. Only 8% want less strong gun laws. 
  • Voters are calling on their elected leaders to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. 82% of Ohioans, including gun owners (79%) and persuadable voters (82%),  support the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, that requires background checks on all gun sales and transfers of firearms. 
  • Background checks are now a key litmus test for voters. 67% of Ohioans, including 61% of gun owners and 65% of persuadable voters say they would never vote for a candidate who opposes background checks. And they are no longer willing to accept excuses. They are far more likely to blame their representatives for the lack of progress on gun violence prevention than they are to blame special interests.
  • Republicans who oppose background checks lose their partisan advantage. Although Sen. Portman may not be running for re-election, his actions can impact Ohio’s next Republican nominee.  Absent  any  other  information  about  candidates, Ohioans are  inclined  to  vote  for  a Republican  over  a  Democrat. That  margin,  however, is  razor  thin,  and when  a Republican  candidate  opposes  background  checks,  they  open  up  the  door  to  Democratic  victories. A Democrat who supports background checks defeats a Republican who does not by 28 points

The Ohio polling from Global Strategy Group, aligns with recent polling from Everytown and Giffords that shows 93% of Americans support background checks on all gun sales (which is on par with job creation and COVID-19 relief). It also found that 86% of Americans who split their votes between parties agreed that “there is no excuse for the next president and Congress not to pass background checks into law.”