Obama made the observation about the supermajority of Americans he believes favor “gun control” when Stephanopoulos asked him why the issues he had chosen to focus on at the beginning of his second term seem to have stalled.
“You put gun control at the top of the agenda, immigration reform, climate change--all of it's stalled or reversing,” said Stephanopoulos. “How do you answer the argument that beyond the deficit, this has been a lost year, and how do you save it?”
First, Obama said the Senate-passed immigration bill, which creates a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens, would win in the House if Speaker John Boehner brought it up for a vote.
“If Speaker Boehner put that bill on the floor of the House of Representatives right now, it would pass. It would pass,” said Obama. “So the question then is not whether or not the ideas that we put forward can garner a majority of support, certainly in the country.
“I mean, gun control, we had 80, 90 percent of the country that agreed with it,” said Obama.
“The problem we have is we have a faction of the Republican Party, in the House of Representatives in particular, that view compromise as a dirty word, and anything that is either remotely associated with me, they feel obliged to oppose,” said Obama. “And my argument to them is real simple. That's not why the people sent to here.”
On Jan. 23, Gallup published a poll in which it had asked people about some gun-related issues. Gallup asked, for example: “Would you vote for or against a law that would limit the sale of ammunition magazines to those with 10 rounds or less?” Fifty-four percent said they would, and 43 percent said they would not.
But when the respondents to that question were broken out as Democrats, Independents and Republicans, only a majority of the Democrats (74 percent) said they would. By contrast, only 46 percent of Independents said they would limit the sale of ammunition magazines to those with 10 rounds or less, and only 39 percent of Republicans.
Eighty percent of Democrats said they would reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004, but only 51 percent of Independents said they would do so, and only 49 percent of Republicans.
Large percentages of Republicans (92 percent), Democrats (97 percent) and Independents (86 percent) said they favored requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales.
Overall, a majority of 82 percent agreed with increasing government spending on mental health programs for youth, including 93 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Independents and 67 percent of Republicans.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."