LATINO VOICES
03/12/2013 11:46 am ET

Latino Voters Favor Gun Control, Regardless Of Party Identification, Poll Shows

Gun enthusiasts won’t be getting much help from Latinos in their efforts to avoid new limits on firearm sales.

A poll released Tuesday by Latino Decisions shows that a solid majority of Latino voters support gun control measures that have gained traction in the wake of the Newtown and Aurora massacres.

Perhaps more problematic for conservatives, who support gun rights in larger numbers than liberals, is that Latinos tend to favor gun restrictions regardless of their party affiliation.

“Latino voters are saying with a strong voice we want some new and smart gun policies taken up by the Congress,” Latino Decisions co-founder Matt Barreto told The Los Angeles Times.

A whopping 84 percent of Latinos said they supported requiring background checks before letting people buy guns, 69 percent favored establishing a national database of gunowners and 64 percent opposed allowing the mentally ill to buy guns.

Support of gun control among Latino voters is consistent with surveys conducted by Pew. Latinos are also the least likely ethnic group tracked by Gallup to own a gun. (Southern married men came in first, with 64 percent.)

But unlike the Pew data, the Latino Decisions poll shows that Hispanic voters tended to support gun restrictions across party lines -- an interesting result for a debate that tends to split along partisan lines.

Republican Latinos surveyed were only slightly less likely than Democrats to support requiring background checks. A sizeable majority of Republicans, 65 percent, also backed the national database, compared to 74 percent of Democrats.

And Republicans were significantly more likely than Democrats to favor criminalizing the sale of guns to people with a documented mental illness, 72 percent to 59 percent.

Latinos did show disagreement along party lines on some questions, however.

Hispanics identifying as Democrats were more likely to support limiting magazine capacity, with 72 percent compared to Latinos Republicans’ 50 percent. Some 65 percent of Latino Democrats favored banning semi-automatics, while only 41 percent of those identifying as Republicans supported the measure.

Independents were most likely to favor allowing teachers to carry weapons, with 51 percent approving, following by Republicans with 42 percent and Democrats with 35 percent.

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