At the same time, the CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday also showed a majority of respondents fear that increased background checks would lead to a federal registry of gun owners that could allow the government to take away legally owned weapons.
Keene and other opponents worry that an expanded background check system would create a paper trail that could eventually be used to build a national gun registry, which they reject as unconstitutional.
They also contend it would prove a burden to law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to stop criminals from getting hold of firearms.
"The one thing you know today is that if the government creates a record, it's not secure," Keene said, adding that requiring background checks on all gun sales -- the so-called universal system -- raised the question of "is it linked to a national registration scheme."
According to a summary of the compromise proposal, it includes language that prohibits creation of a national gun registry or misusing information from background checks.
The high political stakes of the divisive gun law debate have bred hardball tactics and strategies.
The NRA has long kept a comprehensive scorecard of the voting records of legislators on gun issues, which it combines with campaign contributions to try to influence elections.
In response, a group led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Mayors Against Illegal Guns announced this week it was launching its own scorecard to identify members of Congress who vote against tougher gun laws.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a package of gun laws proposed by Obama after the Newtown attack by a lone gunman.
Proposals in the committee's package included expanding background checks on gun buyers, toughening laws against gun trafficking and straw purchases, banning semiautomatic rifles modeled after military assault weapons as well as large-capacity ammunition magazines, and coming up with ideas for improving school safety.
The weapons ban, which would update a similar 1994 law that expired a decade later, already has been dropped, though Reid has promised a floor vote on it as an amendment to the package.
Some states already have passed stricter gun laws similar to the federal proposals since the Newtown shootings. They include Connecticut, where the killings occurred, and Colorado, the site of two other notorious mass shootings that contributed to a renewed gun debate in America.
The current background check system was created in 1989. It requires federally approved gun dealers to check whether gun buyers have a criminal background or other problem to make them ineligible to purchase a firearm.
Under the system, the gun dealer maintains a record of the transaction, but the federal government keeps no such identifying paperwork.
According to a Justice Department report, less than 2% of those seeking to purchase firearms were denied because of background checks from 1998 through 2009.
Opponents cite that figure as evidence that the system fails to stop illegal weapons sales that the legislation seeks to target, while supporters say the result shows the system keeps some guns out of the hands of the wrong people and the system should be expanded and strengthened.