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More than 90% of Americans support background checks, poll says

Ninety-two percent of Americans want potential gun owners to undergo background checks, a new poll found.
A customer shops for a pistol at a sporting goods store on Dec. 17, 2012 in Tinley Park, Ill.
A customer shops for a pistol at a sporting goods store on Dec. 17, 2012 in Tinley Park, Ill.

A huge majority of Americans support conducting background checks for all gun purchases.

A new Quinnipiac University poll this week revealed that 92% of the public favors background checks and 7% disapproves.

Additionally, 86% of Republicans, 98% of Democrats, and 92% of gun owners agree on the issue. The majority of voters — 89% — also support enacting laws to prevent people with mental illnesses from purchasing firearms, according to the poll, which was released Friday.

Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks on prospective purchasers and to maintain records of the sales. But unlicensed private sellers — online and at gun shows, for example — are not required to observe the same policies. About 40% of firearms sold in the country are transferred by such private sellers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice

Many of the pro-reform campaigns, such as the national petitions initiated by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, are focused on addressing the loophole in the federal background checks system. Earlier this year, members of the group successfully convinced Facebook and Instagram to regulate all sales and trades on those sites of firearms that are not subject to background checks.

Related: Target aims to stop customers from carrying guns

The new poll also revealed that only half of the public favors "stricter gun control laws." Support for reform fell sharply in the year following the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn. Two months after the shooting, 61% of Americans favored stricter gun laws. But, 10 months later, support fell to 52% among respondents, msnbc previously reported.

Pollsters questioned 1,446 registered voters between June 24 and June 30.

Federal lawmakers failed to pass a bipartisan background checks bill last year in the months following the Newtown tragedy. The measure would have tightened background checks for gun purchases.

More recently, though, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment in May to boost funding for background checks. The Senate will likely consider its own version of the measure before conferencing with the House to produce a final piece of legislation later this year.