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Background Checks for Guns
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According to The Huffington Post, there are senators in several states who voted in early April 2013 to not increase background checks for gun purchasers despite the concerns over mass killings of people with guns.   The senators who voted against the background checks have experienced a decline in their approval ratings, according to polls released during the last week of April 2013 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.   For example, the net approval rating of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) dropped 16 points. She lost a lot of her prior cross-party popularity when she voted against the background checks. Murkowski did not provide detailed reasons for the vote against background checks, but background checks may be seen as an invasion of privacy by some people. Some people do not like being investigated when they are not doing anything criminal. In a background check, a party may find out not only about the person being investigated, but also the person’s family members, the real estate they own, and their work history. This may put a person being investigated at risk for identity theft if the party doing the investigating finds out another person’s social security number and misuses the personal information.   Another senator who voted against background checks was Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). He saw his appeal rating go down 18 points. He went from a high pom poms rating to a negative one.   Not all of the decline in approval ratings stem from the vote against background checks. There are other legislative controversies going on besides gun control. Portman’s approval declined among Republicans when he made public his support for gay marriage in March 2013.   In several states, such as Alaska and Ohio, around 60 percent of voters were in favor of background checks. The people who were for background checks were not happy with politicians who voted against the legislation.   According to The Huffington Post, fifty-two percent of Arizona voters expressed they were not likely to support Sen. Jeff Flake (R) for reelection because he voted “no” to background checks. It was not explained in detail in the press why Flake voted against the legislation, but for some people who do not support the background checks, it may be because background checks can give some insight into a person’s criminal tendencies or misbehaviors, but a person’s actions may still not be predictable. Even a person who has never committed a crime can have a sudden outburst to commit a crime so it is not known how much background checks may help in controlling the misuse of guns.   In Nevada, 46 percent of people living in Nevada said they may not vote for Sen. Dean Heller (R) because of his vote against background checks.   Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who co-sponsored the background check legislation, experienced his approval rating improving by a net 7 points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released in late April 2013.



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