Gun Background Checks Supported By More Than 90 Percent: Poll

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GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS
Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association CEO, testifies as supporters and opponents of stricter gun control measures face off at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 | AP

Background checks on all gun buyers are supported by 92 percent of voters, including 91 percent of gun-owning households, a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday finds, while other gun measures are significantly more divisive.

The results on background checks are identical to a CBS News/New York Times poll taken in January, before President Barack Obama laid out a series of proposed reforms, suggesting the issue has so far avoided becoming a partisan football. The CBS/Times poll found 92 percent of Americans supported background checks, including 93 percent of gun-owning households.

Other gun proposals garnered slimmer majorities. Voters favored banning assault weapons by 56 percent to 39 percent, and banning the sale of sale of high-capacity magazines by 56 percent to 40 percent. A small majority of voters from households with a gun opposed both ideas.

The Senate is expected to propose a gun bill including the background checks and ban on high-capacity magazines, but not the assault weapons ban. The National Rifle Association, which formerly supported universal background checks, says it changed its position because current background checks aren't working well enough.

"There is no significant voter opposition to requiring background checks for gun buyers," said Quinnipiac's assistant polling director, Peter A. Brown, "and there is support for banning high volume ammunition clips and assault weapons, with the issue pretty much falling along party lines."

Overall, the poll shows attitudes on gun control have changed little over the past few years. Voters favored stricter gun control laws, 52 percent to 43 percent -- a margin 5 points greater than in mid-2008, when 54 percent supported and 40 percent opposed those laws.

Obama and congressional Republicans were trusted about equally to handle the issue of gun control, and voters were similarly divided as to whether Obama or the NRA better represented their views.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,772 registered voters by phone between Jan. 30 and Feb. 4.

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