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Majority of Americans back new gun limits

The Washington Post

Most Americans support tough new measures to combat gun violence, including a ban on assault weapons and posting armed guards at every school, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than half of all Americans — 52 percent in the new poll — say the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings made them more supportive of gun control; just 5 percent say they are now less apt to back tighter restrictions. Most Americans are also at least somewhat worried about a mass shooting in their own community, with concern jumping to 65 percent among those with school-age children at home.

In the poll, 58 percent of Americans support a ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004 after 10 years as the law; 39 percent oppose it.

Recent polls have shown broadly positive sentiment for the NRA itself, but the new poll reveals a far more mixed verdict on its leadership. Some 36 percent express favorable views of the leadership of the NRA, while more, 44 percent, say they have unfavorable impressions. A sizable proportion, 20 percent, say they have no opinion.

A plurality of all Americans, 38 percent, see the organization has having “too much influence” over the country’s gun-control laws. Some 24 percent see the NRA as having “too little” sway, 30 percent say it has about the right amount.

In the new poll, 44 percent of all Americans say there is at least one gun at home, and those in households with guns are far less supportive of a variety of gun control measures than are those in nongun households. Only 15 percent of those in gun households say the administration and Congress should put top priority on stricter laws.

Still, majorities in households with guns support background checks at gun shows (86 percent), background checks on ammunition purchases (76 percent), a new federal guns database (62 percent) and a nationwide ban on high-capacity clips (55 percent).

The poll shows broad support among all Americans for establishing a database tracking all gun sales, an idea favored by 71 percent, and a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips (65 percent). Some 51 percent support a ban on semi-automatic handguns.