Virginia voters appear to be strongly supportive of placing armed police officers in every school to help deter violence and are overwhelmingly in favor of conducting background checks on buyers at private gun shows.
Their views were highlighted in a Quinnipiac University poll released today, which found 66 percent of the 1,134 surveyed Jan. 4-7 would like to see an officer in every school, according to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
The poll also found that a whopping 92 percent of registered voters surveyed want background checks conducted at gun shows. Currently, background checks are only required of buyers who purchase from federally-licensed gun dealers. But private dealers operating at gun shows or not required in the state to run checks on their customers.
In addition, 60 percent of the voters in the survey said they favor limiting gun purchases to one a month, a view greatly at odds with a bill recently signed into law by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell lifting what had been a long-time state ban on buying more than one handgun a month.
According to the Times-Dispatch, Virginia lawmakers tried and failed in the wake 2007 Virginia Tech shooting to close the so-called gun show loophole to background checks on every buyer. Gun control advocates hope to bring similar legislation up this year in hopes that the Newtown, Conn. school shooting Dec 14 that left 20 young children dead will spur movement. But the newspaper reported that it faces an uphill battle from Republicans.
Asked about their views on gun control overall, 50 percent of the survey participants said they believe that gun ownership actually protects people from crime, while 42 percent said it creates greater risk. But 49 percent said they still believe that gun control laws should be tougher, compared to 42 percent who said they favor leaving the laws as they are now.
“Virginians, by a slight margin, are in favor of more gun control, but they don’t seem to fit nicely into either camp in the gun debate following the Newtown school massacre,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“There has been a small increase in the number favoring tougher gun control, but it is not large. Moreover, the idea of stationing armed police in public schools, which many nationally have ridiculed, is favored by two out of three Virginians.”
Both proposals, along with tougher background checks, are now under consideration by the Obama administration, the Times-Dispatch reported.
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