CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Most state residents would support a law requiring background checks at gun shows, but only about half support laws that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines or semi-automatic assault rifles, according to the latest edition of The West Virginia Poll.
The poll is a non-partisan study conducted for the Daily Mail by R.L. Repass and Partners. This most recent edition was conducted from June 7-13, sampling 401 voting-age West Virginia residents.
It has a 4.9 percent margin of error.
According to the poll, 75 percent of state residents said they would support a law requiring background checks for firearms purchased at gun shows, while 17 percent said they would oppose such a law.
Although federal laws require licensed gun dealers to perform background checks, whether at brick-and-mortar stores or gun shows, there currently is no such requirement for unlicensed private dealers, who could sell guns from their home, out of the back of a pick-up truck as well as at gun shows, alongside licensed dealers.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has attempted to close that loophole. Earlier this year he and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., co-authored a measure to expand background check requirements. The bipartisan bill appeared to have some chance of passing, at least at first, but Senate Republicans and rural-state Democrats defeated the measure in April.
Manchin communications director Jonathan Kott said Manchin still is talking to his fellow lawmakers about the background check bill, trying to see what "improvements or clarifications" he could make to garner their support for the legislation.
"We would like the bill - to see it come back. We expect that, at some point, it will come back," Kott said.
He said the bill is unlikely to reemerge until senators finish debates over proposed immigration reforms.
While West Virginians widely support broader background check requirements, most do not want heavier restrictions on gun purchases.
Forty-eight percent of survey participants said gun-purchasing regulations should stay the same, while 34 percent supported stricter requirements.
Only 13 percent said gun sale regulations should be less strict, however, and 5 percent had no opinion or weren't sure.