Those figures were statistically even in July. But 58 percent opted for control over individual rights in 2008, before Obama took office. The December telephone survey included 1,219 adults in all 50 states. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Van Houten, whose organization provides model legislation to lawmakers, noted Snyder’s veto in Michigan. Less important than the details of the proposed conceal-and-carry law, he said, is that a Republican nixed a relaxation of existing law. Still, even as Snyder vetoed that proposal, he signed two other NRA-backed changes that, among other details, limit when gun buyers are subject to background checks.
Also noteworthy is a California Republican who previously opposed more gun restrictions. State Sen. Ted Gaines, who represents Sacramento suburbs, said this week that he'll introduce a bill to permanently disallow gun ownership for anyone deemed by the courts to be a danger to others because of a mental diagnosis. Current California law allows those individuals to recover gun rights after treatment.
Of course, those examples don’t involve new restrictions for the general population, which the NRA has successfully blocked in most states in the past.
In recent years, NRA’s statehouse efforts have centered on expanding the right to carry guns in public places and adopting ‘‘stand your ground’’ laws that expand self-defense rights beyond a person’s home. Just four states — Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming — allow concealed weapons without a permit. But the NRA has over many years chipped away at the burdens to get a license in the remaining states and, more recently, shifted to eliminating exceptions that allow churches, schools, universities and businesses to ban weapons on their property.
The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have jointly rejected the ideas of increasing gun presence on campus. The proposals generally take two forms: eliminating the exceptions so gun owners can choose to carry on campus or specifically requiring that school personnel be trained and armed.
‘‘We don’t believe the solution is to put more guns in the building, but keep them from getting in,’’ said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. But he argued that prevention goes beyond gun control. He said NEA wants more money to finance school counselors and psychologists, better public mental health access generally, and state laws that crack down on bullying.
‘‘It’s time to emphasize how all of those services and that comprehensive approach play a role in keeping kids safe,’’ he said.
As advocates talk to lawmakers, Van Roekel added, they should demand more than just a yes or no. ‘‘Don’t just tell me what you won’t do. Tell me what you are willing to do to try to fix this problem. If you vote no, come with an alternative.’’
Associated Press writers Seanna Adcox in Columbia, S.C.; Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn.; and Juliet Williams in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this story.