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Q-Poll: Support For Background Checks Of Gun Buyers Hits All-Time High

Balloons at the Sandy Hook School sign in Newtown, where 26 students and teachers were killed in a shooting nearly five years ago.
Balloons at the Sandy Hook School sign in Newtown, where 26 students and teachers were killed in a shooting nearly five years ago. Photo Credit: File photo

After a series of deadly mass shootings, even gun owners are showing nearly unanimous support for universal background checks for those looking to buy guns, according to a new national Quinnipiac University Poll.

American voters support the checks by a whopping 95 percent to 4 percent — including 94 percent to 5 percent among voters in households where there is a gun, said the Q Poll, which was released this past week.

This is the highest level of support for universal background checks since the independent Quinnipiac University Poll first asked this question in February 2013, in the wake of the Sandy Hook School massacre, where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed.

American voters support 65 percent to 31 percent a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, also a new high, the poll said. Voters in gun households support a ban 51 percent to 43 percent.

Voters support 60 percent to 36 percent stricter gun laws and a number of specific gun measures:

  • 91 percent to 7 percent for a ban on the sale of guns to people convicted of a violent crime;
  • 62 percent to 34 percent for stricter regulation of ammunition sales;
  • 74 percent to 24 percent for a ban on gun modifications that can make a gun work more like a fully automatic weapon.

It is too easy to buy a gun in the U.S., 59 percent of American voters told poll-takers. But only 37 percent say the ease of buying guns is the bigger cause of mass shootings, while 52 percent say the bigger reason is because it's too difficult to get mental health care.

Stricter gun laws would help prevent mass shootings, 34 percent of voters say, as 62 percent say shooters would find a way around stricter gun laws and commit these crimes anyway.

"With each American gun massacre, there is stronger voter support for tighter gun control measures," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"But the cynical view prevails: Stricter laws will do no good whatsoever in a country with more guns than people."

From Nov. 7 to 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,577 voters nationwide on landlines and cellphones, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts nationwide public opinion surveys, and statewide polls in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado as a public service and for research.

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