In the House, 93 Republicans said they were gun owners, compared to only 30 Democrats. Thirteen House Republicans said they did not own any guns, against 106 House Democrats who said the same.
All told, that makes for 119 GOP gun owners and 46 Democrats. The rest either did not respond or declined to answer.
The divide highlights the partisan split on the issue of gun control as lawmakers weigh new restrictions in the wake of December’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
President Obama has sought to raise public pressure on lawmakers to ban semi-automatic weapons with military features and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The president is also pushing for universal background checks on gun purchases, along with expanded research into the causes of gun violence.
Those measures face high hurdles in Congress – most notably the so-called “assault weapons” ban proposed by Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinClinton’s email troubles deepen Top Dem: CIA officials thought spying on Senate ‘was flat out wrong’ Senate panel advances spy policy bill, after House approves its own version MORE (D-Calif.), which many believe lacks support to even pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidNearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate McCain files B amendment to boost defense spending MORE (D-Nev.) has pledged a floor vote on any bill that moves through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Reid has expressed support for mandatory background checks, but has concerns about an assault weapons ban, which he notes would be unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled House.
Congress last week held its first hearings on gun violence, with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was gravely wounded in a shooting rampage that led to her early retirement, making a surprise appearance at a highly charged Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Giffords implored Congress to act quickly to on gun legislation.
But senators also heard from National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who cautioned that more laws would only infringe on Second Amendment rights and do little to stem further violence.