A Walther handgun is displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada in this file photo taken January 29, 2011.
WASHINGTON — More than 90 percent of U.S. voters supported background checks for all gun buyers, while much smaller majorities were for stricter gun control laws such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, said a poll released on Thursday.
Arkansas moves to make gun permit info private
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Republican-controlled Arkansas state Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would exempt from public disclosure the names and zip codes of gun owners, those with permits to carry concealed guns and permit applicants.
The bill comes in response to the controversy late last year over a New York newspaper's decision to publish the names and addresses of thousands of gun permit holders on its website after a shooting rampage at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school that killed 20 children and six adults.
The Journal News, which serves suburbs just north of New York City in Westchester and Rockland counties, pulled the information from its site last month.
The Arkansas bill, which passed the Senate 24-9, now moves to the state House of Representatives, which is also controlled by Republicans. Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, has said he opposes the bill because it restricts the state's Freedom of Information Act.
Republican state Senator Bruce Holland, the bill's sponsor, said he introduced the legislation after a constituent contacted him with concerns about the Journal News' actions.
But the National Rifle Association (NRA) edged out President Barack Obama in the poll, with 46 percent saying the pro-gun lobby better reflects their views on guns, versus 43 percent for Obama.
By a margin of 92 percent to 7 percent, voters supported background checks, the Quinnipiac University telephone poll showed. In households with a gun, 91 percent were in favor, while 8 percent were opposed, Quinnipiac said.
In response to the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 20 school children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama last month announced a series of gun-control measures opposed by the NRA, including proposals for enhanced background checks and a ban on military-style assault weapons.
House Democrats were expected to announce their own firearms legislation on Thursday.
A majority of those surveyed supported stricter national gun control laws, Quinnipiac said. Fifty-six percent were for a ban on the sale of assault weapons, and the same percentage supported a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines, defined as those holding more than 10 rounds.
Congress would need to approve those initiatives and background checks.
"The politics of gun policy are also unclear," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement. "Despite the huge news media coverage of the issue since the Newtown shooting, only 37 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a congressman who votes to ban sales of assault rifles, while 31 percent are less likely, and 30 percent say it would not affect their vote."
The poll surveyed 1,772 registered voters from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points, Quinnipiac said.