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Poll Finds More Than Half Of Californians Back Gun Control Measures

Gun Control: March 2013 Poll Results by USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences on YouTube

LOS ANGELES ( — Voters in the Southland and statewide say it's more important to protect people from gun violence than to protect their right to own a firearm, according to the largest statewide poll of registered voters.

The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll released Monday found 51 percent of California voters favored stronger measures to curb gun violence, including background checks for all gun sales, which the state currently requires for all gun purchases.

Only six percent of voters surveyed opposed universal checks.

In addition to background checks, voters also supported other methods to alleviate gun violence, including:

  • updating the national database used for background checks by improving the reporting of mental health records (89 percent in favor, 8 percent oppose);
  • increasing penalties for those who commit crimes with guns (87 percent in favor, 9 percent oppose);
  • increasing penalties for those who illegally buy, sell or possess guns (85 percent in favor, 12 percent oppose);
  • requiring ammunition buyers to provide a thumbprint and ID for background checks (79 percent in favor, 19 percent oppose); and
  • requiring all gun owners to be registered, licensed and insured (71 percent in favor, 26 percent oppose).

In comparison, 37 percent of voters said it is more important to protect the right to own guns, with 32 percent agreeing "strongly."

Despite the tragedy at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December, 66 percent of voters remain opposed to arming teachers, administrators or janitors in schools to protect campuses from potential shooters, according to the survey.

However, 52 percent favor allowing school districts to spend public funds on armed security guards to protect campuses, while 43 percent remained opposed to that strategy.

The poll also found 62 percent of Californians favor enacting a nationwide assault weapons bans, with 33 percent opposed.

"In the last several days, it's become clear that passing an assault weapons ban in Congress will be extremely difficult. But in California, it would pass overwhelmingly," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. "Right down the line, Californians have made it clear how strongly they support the idea of gun control."

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