On Saturday afternoon, during live coverage of the anti-gun March for Our Lives rally in D.C., CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano cited a discredited poll claiming that 97 percent of Americans want "universal background checks" while stating that he was "getting chills" from being at the National Mall where so many historic events in American history took place.
However, not only did NewsBusters point out almost two years ago that this polling result had been disputed, but, ironically, MSNBC's Steve Kornacki recently has repeatedly clarified to viewers that the 97 percent number is misleading since universal background checks was defeated by voters in Democratic-leaning Maine in 2016 when the measure was put on the ballot.
At 12:43 p.m. ET, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota recalled that, after the Las Vegas massacre, the federal government had not moved as quickly as she would have preferred in banning bumps stocks. She then went to Gagliano for his response. The self-described "conservative" analyst began:
The wheels of change are happening, and I'm getting chills just having this conversation just north of the National Mall where women's suffrage started, civil rights. And I want to put this into personal context. This is also where the Vietnam protests took place.
He then added:
And as a conservative, as a law enforcement professional for 25 years as a gun owner, what you mention, that is low-hanging fruit. The fact that 97 percent of the American people believe in universal background checks. Where are the three percent, is what I want to know?
But NewsBusters has previously cited other polling which suggests that, when people are polled in such a way that they are given more information about what level of background checks already exist, support for expanding the law to apply to all private purchases is shown to plummet.
Additionally, not only did voters in Democratic-leaning Maine reject universal background checks, voters in Democratic-leaning Nevada only just barely passed the measure slightly more than 50 percent of the vote. And in solidly Democratic Washington, voters passed it with 59 percent of the vote in 2014 -- still far short of the 90 percent claimed in many surveys since the Sandy Hook school shootings in 2012.
Editor's Note, March 26, 11:30 a.m. Eastern: This piece has been updated to better reflect Gagliano's comments about being in Washington D.C. and recalling past events in the city's history.