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Emerson College Poll Finds Americans Support Stricter Gun Laws

BOSTON, Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A national survey of registered voters by the Emerson College Polling Society (ECPS) released today finds that 55% would support stricter gun laws while only 12% favored less strict gun laws. There was a 2.6 percent margin of error in the ECPS survey.

As law makers propose new gun control measures, the survey suggests that universal background checks on gun buyers are supported by 83% of respondents, and a ban on assault weapons is supported by 60% of the respondents. On other policies under consideration, 58% of those polled favor a ban on magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. On another hotly contested issue, (51%) support a ban on video games that depict gun violence with 29% opposing such legislation.

The most contentious policy among those polled is on the placement of armed guards in schools:  47% support such placement with 36% opposing. There are gender differences on this policy;  fifty-five percent (55%) of males support armed guards in schools, with only 39% of women favoring this policy.

Grey VanDeMark, President of the ECPS speculated that GOP law makers ought not to oppose all gun control measures, as the poll found that "Sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans support universal background checks and 38% of Republicans support a ban on assault weapons."

According to analyst Kwon Jung notes that "sixty-nine percent (69%) of females want stricter gun laws, while only 41% of men do".

Within the context of the Newtown, CT shooting, 33% of those polled identified the cause as a lack of mental health facilities, 23% identified the availability of guns, and 18% said that violent themes in media and video games contributed to the shooting.

There was a clear divide between Democrats and Republicans on such issues. 43% of Democrats identified the availability of guns as the primary cause, as compared to 6% of Republicans. 41% of Republicans attributed the mass shootings to the lack of mental health care, while 26% of Democrats agree.

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