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Poll: Most gun owners support some gun controls

July 24, 2012|By Joseph Tanfani
  • Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) speaks at a news conference in Washington to criticize the sale of high-capacity magazines for assault rifles.
Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) speaks at a news conference in Washington… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON – Second Amendment rights to carry firearms are cherished by most gun owners, a new poll finds – no surprise there. But the same poll says a sizable majority of those same gun owners, even members of the National Rifle Assn., also strongly support some gun control measures.

The poll, done for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, found that 76% of gun owners think people on the terrorist watch list should be barred from buying guns, and 68% were in favor of measures requiring gun owners to tell police if their guns are lost or stolen. The NRA has opposed such measures.

The May survey by Republican pollster Frank Luntz surveyed 945 gun owners nationwide, half of them “current or lapsed” members of the NRA. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points.

An NRA spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

“Gun owners and NRA members overwhelmingly support common-sense steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, even as the NRA leadership continues to oppose them,” said New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Since the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., Bloomberg has been pressing to make gun control an issue in the presidential campaign.

The poll also found that 82% of gun owners think anyone purchasing a gun should get a criminal background check. And 80% of the sample believed that concealed-carry permits should be granted only to applicants who have completed gun safety training.

Other polls in recent years have found that support for gun control measures has steadily been dropping nationwide. But Lowell Baker, president of Luntz Global, said Tuesday he believed other surveys incorrectly framed the debate, by asking whether gun rights were more important than gun controls.

“It’s not an either/or choice,” he said at a news conference sponsored by the Center for American Progress. “What they’re trying to tell us is they understand that with these rights come responsibilities.”

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joseph.tanfani@latimes.com

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