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Minnesota Legislature

State fair poll shows strong support for background checks during all gun sales

Rep. Jack Considine Jr., and Rep. Roz Peterson, yellow shirt, greet visitors to the Minnesota House of Representatives’ booth in the Education Building. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Nearly 90 percent of those who took the 2018 House of Representatives’ State Fair Opinion Poll support requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions and sales made at gun shows.

Of the 8,159 votes cast on that question, 89.3 percent were in favor of the requirement, 8.1 percent opposed it and 2.6 percent were undecided or had no opinion.

Conducted by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office, the poll is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and that may again be topics of discussion in 2019.

The question on background checks was one of 12 asked in the poll, which also found solid support for issues related to opioids, elder abuse and school safety. More than 65 percent of polltakers said they support requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay a fee for every opioid painkiller they sell, with the money raised going to abuse prevention and treatment efforts.

More than two-thirds of respondents (67.6 percent) favor requiring elder care facilities to allow families to place electronic monitoring devices, such as cameras, in the rooms or private living spaces of residents to monitor their care and well-being. And 57.8 percent support requiring school districts to establish threat assessment teams to intervene when students display behavior that may cause harm to others.

WATCH 2018 poll results on YouTube

Respondents were more divided on other issues, however.

One such area is wagering, where 41.6 percent of polltakers oppose the legalization and regulation of sports gambling in Minnesota, while 40.7 percent favor legal sports betting. But that slim margin represents a significant shift on the issue. When a similar question was asked on last year’s poll, only 30.6 percent of respondents said they favored legalization, while 55 percent were opposed.

Opinions on transportation funding were also closely split, with 41.9 percent of polltakers in favor of amending the state constitution to require tax revenue from the sale of auto parts and repairs be dedicated to fund road and bridge improvements, and 39.1 percent opposed to the idea.

The poll also found support for the use of recreational marijuana to have ticked up over the last year. Asked if those age 21 or over should be legally allowed to use recreational marijuana, 56.2 of respondents answered “yes,” while 33.9 percent registered opposition. When the same question was asked last year, 50.6 percent were in favor and 39.7 percent were not.

Polltakers also favored:

  • an increase in fees to help maintain the state’s parks and trails (72.7 percent);
  • a statewide ban on some types of plastic, non-recyclable to-go containers at restaurants (68.1 percent);
  • allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell beer, wine and distilled spirits (64.3 percent);
  • not allowing employers to pay lower hourly wages to tipped workers if the tips they make boost their hourly salary to certain minimum levels (57 percent); and
  • not requiring adults between the ages of 18 and 60 without a disability or responsibilities as a caregiver, to work at least 80 hours per month to receive Medicaid benefits (46.5 percent).

Click here to view the final results of the 2018 House of Representatives State Fair Poll.


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