Mike Thompson: Poll says vets want gun control

A vast majority of veterans believe that it’s important for Congress and President Obama to address gun violence, and that responsible gun owners’ Second Amendment rights can be protected while making it harder for criminals and other dangerous people to own guns, according to a new poll.

A tremendous 91 percent of veterans support requiring a background check of everyone who wants to buy a firearm, the poll found, and 99 percent support increasing criminal penalties for people convicted of trafficking guns to criminals.

Mike ThompsonRep. Mike Thompson, the chairman of House Democrats’ gun violence task force, released the survey’s results Thursday at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

“As today’s study shows, America’s heroes who have carried guns in defense of our nation overwhelmingly agree that it’s time for Congress to act to reduce gun violence; I’m one of them,” Thompson, D-Napa, said in a news release. “As a Vietnam veteran, hunter, and gun owner, I know that we can keep guns from criminals and the dangerously mentally ill, and respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. The best way to do this is by expanding background checks. Background checks are the first line of defense against guns getting in the hands of those we all agree shouldn’t have them.”

The poll of 804 registered voters who are military veterans was conducted online from April 2 through 4 by Global Strategy Group on behalf of Center for American Progress Action Fund and VoteVets, both liberal groups; it has a 3.5-percentage-point margin of error.

The poll found that 85 percent of veterans say it’s important for national leaders to address gun violence, and the same number agree constitutional rights can be protected while measures are taken to keep guns away from criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. It also found that veterans’ opinions of the National Rifle Association are split, with 43 percent feeling favorably toward the gun-lobbying organization and 36 percent feeling unfavorably toward it.

Also, 61 percent of veterans support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, and 58 percent support banning assault-style weapons.

The poll also surveyed how a lawmaker’s support of background checks would affect veterans’ votes. Only 12 percent of veterans said such support would make them less likely to vote for the lawmaker; 58 percent say it would make them more likely to vote for the lawmaker; and 29 percent said the issue isn’t important enough to them to affect their vote.

But the poll also found 31 percent of veteran voters say the NRA’s endorsement would make them less likely to vote for that lawmaker, while 30 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for that lawmaker.

Thompson also Thursday praised the U.S. Senate for voting to allow debate on a gun-control bill.

“Today Senate Republicans and Democrats voted overwhelmingly to reject the shameful filibuster that attempted to deny Americans a vote on legislation that will reduce and prevent gun violence,” he said. “The bipartisan background check legislation that I will introduce and will be voted on in the Senate is enforceable, will save lives, and respects the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Americans. It’s time for Congress to act. The American people are getting a vote in the Senate. They deserve one in the House.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Here we go again. More propaganda. Today’s CC Times has a good letter to the Editor, blaming lack of parental guidance, to be the cause of children becoming mass murderers.
    “Wake up people. It’s the overkill by news media, of these types of events. Then the parents, then the computer games kids play, that involve killing your opposition.”
    Am I the only person made sick by the ridiculous amount of pictures of the Arizona, Colorado & other sad sack, killers on TV?
    It’s like hero worship of the mass murderers, by the corrupt, liberal media.

  • Josh Richman

    Way to shoot the messengers, Bruce. You think the media should bury its collective head in the sand and not report the gun violence that’s going on in our communities every day? Ignorance is not bliss. And if you think 20 schoolkids being blown apart in their classrooms isn’t newsworthy, I’d hate to see your definition of news.

  • Elwood

    And the beat goes on.

    Law-abiding gun owners will be punished by ridiculous laws and regulations because of the actions of a few loonies who should have been locked up.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    A good place to start mental health screening would be the letters page in the CCT.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Wow! Josh exploded. He thinks I should like to look @ the worst possible photos of mass murderers a million times? My definition of news, is when someone invents something that no one else has. I like looking @ successful geeks in the news. Male or female.
    You just convinced me to visit an intelligent, convicted murderer @ Salinas Valley State. Thanks Josh. It should be more interesting than the “Who got killed lately” stories, that dominates the news. To the point of ____

    @#4. Is there is a difference between the crazy people who post on this site, as opposed to the crazy people whose letters make it onto the pages of the corrupt CC Times? Other than some state their name & town?

  • Josh Richman

    @5 – Unsurprisingly, you’re missing the point, Bruce. Nobody enjoys reading about the death and misery caused by gun violence, but it’s real and people need to know about it. Shutting your eyes and putting your fingers in your ears won’t make it go away.

  • Kathy

    I think that putting your head in the sand while claiming “rights” to own guns is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with registering or having permits for owning guns, having background checks, waiting periods, etc.
    I know people who hunt and own guns, and one of them works at a sporting goods store and sells them. He is glad they have those checks and a waiting period, because he sees people he thinks shouldn’t have a gun deterred from ownership.

  • Elwood

    @ Bruce #5

    Don’t take it personally, Bruce.

    Josh doesn’t like anyone posting anything with which he does not agree.

  • Josh Richman

    @8 – Really, Elwood? You’re still posting here all the time, and I seldom bother to call you on your fabrications. It just happens to be a pet peeve of mine when people blame the media for doing its job of reporting what’s happening in the world.

  • JohnW

    Universal background checks are an abridgment of Constitutional rights granted by the Founders, if not by God herself. We should just assume that anybody who goes online to order an AR 15, a Glock, a Sig Sauer, a thousand rounds of ammo and a Kevlar vest is legally qualified to own a weapon and has the best of intentions.

    On the other hand, if somebody goes to a precinct to vote under a name registered in that precinct, stands in line for hours, gives the precinct workers a name and address that matches the registration list and has some form of paper showing they are who they say they are, we should assume they are out to subvert the integrity of the voting system. To guard against imaginary, non-existent in-person voter fraud, we should make people who don’t have driver’s licenses jump through hoops to obtain a special form of ID.

  • Elwood

    Hey Josh, just for giggles, why don’t you point out a few of the things I’ve fabricated?

    I’ll be waiting.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    The latest news, claims there is a shortage of ammo. Thanks to all of the misguided do-gooders who think taxing or outlawing ammo, will make people in Oakland, Richmond & Stockton stop their gang warfare.

    Many drugs are illegal. Does that stop their supply? It only keeps their price high.

    Mark Z. of facebook fame, was on the news last night saying: “Ideas, are what’s important”.

    Unfortunately, the government is run by the liars, who collect the most money, to convince people with their heads in the sand, to vote for them. The more money the lying politicians collect, the more propaganda the obviously corrupt news media, will print for them.
    I used to go to Lafayette City Council meetings. Some liberals asked the city council a question. The Council ignored the question until another person yelled at them to answer the question. Then one Council member made up a whopper & the rest of the Council agreed with the whopper. The incredibly corrupt news media, totally ignored the whopper. Now that is who has their head in the sand, Josh. The obviously corrupt news media. Not me.
    I know a man, who had his good looking son murdered by thugs. He collects guns. He won’t get a free trip to the White House, like the people who blame the gun, not the bullied, ignored, wimp, who pulled the trigger.

  • Josh Richman

    @#11 – Y’know, Elwood, I owe you an apology; fabrication was the wrong word. Looking back over your many comments, I see lots of times that you’ve cherrypicked facts to fit your worldview (with John W. often there to put them in a more accurate context). Most of the time, I see you’re not dealing in facts at all but merely voicing your opinion of someone else’s alleged lack of intelligence – not exactly a standard Oxford debating practice, but not a fabrication either. I also notice you’ve got stock comments that you recycle over and over again – “land of fruits and nuts;” “a pair to draw to;” “dimmiecrats!” (of which you still inexplicably claim to be one?); and an oldie-but-goodie, “never been indicted!”

    @#12 – Seems like you’re changing the subject, Bruce: We started out talking about the media’s coverage gun violence and policy, and you’ve gone off on a tear about local government. I’m sure you have beefs with Lafayette City Council and maybe some of them are even valid – I don’t know, I don’t cover local governments – but I daresay there are more readers out there concerned with the impacts of gun violence. And just because the media don’t see everything exactly as you do doesn’t make them “corrupt.” But I do agree with your final point: I’d rather see the media and politicians concentrate on the day-to-day violence against individual, ordinary people rather than waiting for lurid mass shootings to drive the debate.

  • JohnW

    @13 “I’d rather see the media and politicians concentrate on the day-to-day violence against individual, ordinary people rather than waiting for lurid mass shootings to drive the debate.”

    Amen to that, Josh. When that violence starts spilling over to places like Walnut Creek, I imagine it will receive more concentrated attention.

  • Josh Richman

    @14 – Or maybe when it spills into Lafayette, eh Bruce?

  • JohnW

    @12 “The latest news claims there is a shortage of ammo.”

    I’ve seen those reports too. Not the first time. Happened right after Obama was first elected in 2008. But it doesn’t make sense.

    You would think that ammo manufacturers would have both the ability and incentive to quickly ramp up production to meet demand. I can understand why that would be more difficult in the case of firearms, but not bullets. If they lack that ability, then they probably need to modernize their production processes. If they have the ability but aren’t increasing production, that would suggest some market manipulation to jack up the prices. Perhaps they would rather gouge than produce.

  • Elwood

    Thank you for the apology, Josh.

    As to the rest, guilty as charged. No problemo.

    Look forward to more of the same.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @15. The violence did spread into Lafayette. The Lafayette police recently shot a young man full of holes, right over the hill from my house. i will eventually find out the true story about that. Not the media’s version.
    Josh. You keep missing my main point. It’s the wimpy, picked on, unattended young people, going haywire & killing other people, that needs to be addressed. You & your politician friends, keep going after hardware, that in itself, can sit on a shelf until it rusts & can’t hurt a rat’s_____.
    Other than: shot by police, the most famous violence in Lafayette, was by sticks & stones, by a haywire young wimp. Does anyone have a good question I should ask him? He is no longer a haywire young wimp.
    Let the politicians try to outlaw stones.

  • Josh Richman

    @18 – There you go again: “you and your politician friends.” There’s no such conspiracy, no matter how badly you want to believe it.

    Also, your stereotyping is flawed: It’s not “wimpy, picked on, unattended young people” who are committing most of the gun violence that occurs daily in cities like Oakland. Tell your sticks-and-stones story (Dyleski, I assume) to the people who live and die there.

  • Flash

    The only poll that is true is the police one poll and Bloomberg would not dare to try the buy it like he has the others.

  • JohnW

    Well, it seems that there is at least a crackdown on wanton violence in Concord. According to the above the fold story in Section B of the CCTimes, a teacher has been placed on leave for tapping one of her middle school students with a “small, cylindrical object similar to a rolled-up piece of paper.”

    Oh, the humanity! Will this student ever recover from the PTSD that this incident will undoubtedly trigger.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @19 – You are confusing/lumping the mass murderers with the gang bangers. The mass shootings are mostly done by wimpy, picked on, unattended, unsocial, young men. The mostly targeted shootings in the cities are drug/gang related.
    Scott Dyleski is now an expert on prisons & what happens in them & how people get there. He calls prisoners “Babies”. The prison guards: “Baby sitters”. He claims he was elected by his fellow inmates, to run the youth offender deterrent program. For some strange reason the program was cut. I suspect more prisoners, serving longer terms= more prison guard union members.
    Josh. What are you an expert on? Writing about what lying politicians say? Or are you going to tell me politicians don’t lie. Next, you will tell me you, not the corrupt Editor, has final say of what goes in the news & where it is placed.

  • JohnW


    Just out of curiosity, Bruce R. Peterson, are there ANY news sources that you consider to be not corrupt and worthy of reading/viewing/listening? If so, what might those be?

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @23. Other than talking to people who have been in the news? No! 100% of people who have been in the news, say the newspaper’s story is wrong. This has been the case for over 50 years. Micheal Littman’s sweet wife, is the latest to tell me this.
    TV, newspapers, magazines & sites like this, are for entertainment purposes. Snipers, Johnny, Woody & a few others, entertain me on this site. Josh is so sweet, for not banning my comments.
    I receive propaganda from the left & right. If their propaganda is to boring, I hit the unsubscribe link. The propaganda from: “The other 98%”, was the latest to receive the unsubscribe fate.
    People telling me stories, they would not put out for the world to see, is my favorite news source.

    You people have made me think of a question for my prison expert: Are the crybabies in prison, the same people who are shooting up Oakland?

  • MichaelB


    The mainstream media’s idea of “news” on this subject is doing the bidding of/being sympathetic to gun control groups.

    They already have their heads in the sand. “Gun violence” has little, if anything, to do with what people do or how to make them stop doing it. Guns “did it” all by themselves. The “reporting” is to promote more gun control laws (which, whatever they are, somehow always find a way of being “sensible”) while portraying those as somehow being “nuts” or “not caring about kids” if they won’t go along/suggest other solutions to address violence.

    When was the last time so called “professional journalists” cornered the leaders of the gun control movement and questioned how more legal regulations on firearms will stop those who don’t observe laws to begin with? How people marching down city streets with “Stop the NRA” signs will make criminals behave themselves/change their ways? How a gun control supporter/organization arrived at the conclusion that people legally owning guns/minding their own business/following laws are really “contributing to gun violence”? Or how Michael Bloomberg can credibly claim he “supports” the 2nd Amendment given the cumbersome/expensive procedure involved for law abiding residents in New York City to legally own handguns there? Ignorance is bliss.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Josh. Why don’t you post the pictures of the 3 wide eyed crazy looking young men, who committed the mass shootings? With the caption that goes with it.

  • Josh Richman

    Because it’s a non sequitur, Bruce. If you don’t think it’s important to try to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people such as these, I’d have to question your own mental fitness.

    Also, weren’t you just pontificating recently about how the media gives these guys too much ink/air? Were you being disingenuous then, or now?

  • MichaelB


    Given what gun control supporters have called for in front of friendly crowds (confiscation, praise for other nations that don’t allow gun ownership, mandatory “buybacks”, complaints about “too many” guns, etc.), it’s ridiculous to trust them at all. Or to assume they want citizens being allowed to own guns in the first place. California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation but Democrats come back every year in Sacramento just wanting more.

    Do you really want someone promoting policies on this issue whose justification is “do it for the children”? Or wants to sue gun manufacturers for what criminals do on the streets? There IS something wrong with people who think guns do things all by themselves and criminals who abuse them somehow don’t mean to. Or are somehow being “forced” to by the “gun lobby”.

    Allowing the gun control movement to dictate policy on this issue is the equivalent of having female employees expecting salary increases/promotions from male chauvinist bosses. The bosses will always find a way of saying “no” to whoever wants one and performance will never be good enough for them.

  • don

    Its April 18 and the 92%(fake) who want gun control
    Failed! And senator Thompson who says majority of veterans want gun control 91%(fake). This Vietnam
    veteran and 14 other vets-Do Not Agree or like the senator trying to speak for us. That and his ongoing
    threat to continue his anti Constitutional assault
    on veterans is a disgrace, step down you constitutional bully.

  • JohnW


    FYI, Congressman Thompson is not a senator.