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Gun control has public support

Updated: March 2, 2013 12:04PM

Another day, another poll showing a majority of Americans favor many of the proposed gun-control measures being discussed in Congress right now.

Thursday’s poll came from the University of Connecticut and the Hartford Courant, which found that majorities of Americans favor background checks on all firearm purchases, thus closing the so-called gun show loophole (84 percent); support reinstating the ban on assault weapons (57 percent); and back banning the sale of high-capacity magazines (53 percent).

This poll is hardly an outlier. Since the Sandy Hook massacre, there have been a plethora of polls showing Americans favor the kinds of limited gun-control measures President Barack Obama is pushing. Here are just 10:

◆ Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health: A survey of 2,703 respondents found 89 percent support universal background checks; 69 percent support banning the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons; 68 percent support banning the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines.

◆ Fox News: The conservative news network asked 1,008 registered voters about various policies, finding that 91 percent favored universal background checks on all gun purchases; 54 percent supported banning assault weapons; 56 percent supported banning the sale of high-capacity magazines.

◆ Gallup: 1,021 Americans were asked if they would want their member of Congress to vote for or against Obama’s slate of favored gun legislation — 53 percent said “for,” 41 percent said “against.”

◆ Pew: The organization asked 1,006 Americans if they thought “Obama’s proposals on guns go too far, not far enough or are about right.” While 31 percent said they went too far, 39 percent said they were about right and 13 percent said they didn’t go far enough. That gives Obama’s proposal a 21 point edge.

◆ Washington Post/ABC News: Unlike most other polls, this survey of 1,001 adults found greater support for a ban on high-capacity magazines (65 percent) than reinstating the assault weapons ban (58 percent), though solid majorities supported both. Meanwhile, 88 percent supported universal background checks, and 71 percent favor a federal database to track gun sales.

◆ CNN/ORC: A poll of 602 Americans found that 95 percent favored universal background checks, while 62 percent favored a ban on the sale of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

◆ Public Religion Research Institute: The think tank asked 1,033 Americans if they favored “stricter gun control” — 36 percent strongly supported it, while 24 favored it. Just 14 percent opposed and 23 percent strongly opposed it, giving those who favor stricter laws a 23 point edge overall.

◆ NBC News/Wall Street Journal: Asked 1,000 adults, “In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?” Fifty-six percent said “more strict,” while just 7 percent said “less strict.”

◆ New York Times/CBS News: The poll of 1,110 Americans found that 92 percent favor universal background checks; 58 percent favor a ban on assault weapons; and 63 percent favor a ban on high-capacity magazines.

◆ AP/GfK: Of the 1,004 adults surveyed, 84 percent favored universal background checks, 55 percent favored a ban on “military-style” assault weapons, 51 percent favored a ban on high-capacity magazines.

Interestingly, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that even Republicans favor many gun-control proposals but lose interest once they’re associated with Obama. It underscores the importance of communicating that these are mainstream proposals that enjoy massive support from Americans, not just liberals and the White House.

Alex Seitz-Wald is the political reporter for Salon, where this was posted.

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