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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

March 5, 2013 at 11:19 AM

New poll: Most favor universal background checks for guns

Washington state voters support requiring background checks for all gun sales, according to a poll released Tuesday morning.

The Elway Poll, conducted by Stuart Elway, found that 79 percent of voters support the expanded checks (currently, checks are required for sales by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers).

Perhaps most surprisingly, the poll found that 71 percent of state gun owners support universal checks.

Elway called 412 voters, including via cell phone, between Feb. 28 and March 2. The poll’s margin of error is five percentage points, plus or minus. Of those responding to the poll, 173 indentified themselves as gun owners.

The poll also found support, albeit at a narrower 54 percent, for another pair of gun measures: banning ammunition magazines or clips that can hold more than 10 rounds and banning so-called semi-automatic weapons, which automatically reload when the trigger is pulled.

Only 34 percent of voters said they want gun owners to have to buy special liability insurance, though.

And only 34 percent supported allowing school administrators or teachers to carry concealed weapons in school, an idea that some Republicans says could mean safer schools.

But the background-check finding is likely to get the most attention because it is the idea most seriously being considered in the Legislature right now.

House Bill 1588 has passed the state House Judiciary Committee and is currently awaiting a floor vote.

Comments | More in State Legislature | Topics: background checks, gun control, Newtown

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