HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Solid majorities of Pennsylvania voters favor background checks for all gun purchases and national bans on the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University found Pennsylvanians more closely divided on the issues of same-sex marriage and increasing gas taxes to finance highway and bridge repairs.
On the major gun control measures President Barack Obama advocated earlier this month, the survey showed 95 percent of the respondents support background checks for all gun buyers. Such checks are already required in Pennsylvania.
Respondents favored outlawing the sale of assault weapons, 60 percent to 37 percent, and banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, 59 percent to 39 percent.
“Pennsylvanians want our elected officials to enact common sense gun laws to keep us safe,” said Shira Goodman, director of the gun-violence prevention group CeaseFirePA.
State Rep. Jeffrey Pyle, an Armstrong County Republican and gun rights advocate, said he was not surprised by the poll results but questioned whether they fully reflect the strong pro-gun ethic in rural Pennsylvania.
“Once you get east of Lancaster, respect for the Second Amendment isn’t as adamant as it is out here,” he said.
Sixty percent of the respondents said they think federal gun laws should be stricter, while 32 percent said current laws are adequate.
Overall, when asked to identify the state’s most important problem, 28 percent said unemployment and jobs, while only 3 percent cited gun control or violent crime.
On other subjects, 47 percent said they generally support same-sex marriage and 43 percent were opposed.
But respondents were evenly split over whether they support or oppose increasing gas taxes to finance highway and bridge repairs. Eighty-two percent of the respondents said they were somewhat or very concerned that the increase would be passed on to motorists.
The survey of 1,221 registered voters was conducted over six days ending Sunday. The sampling error margin was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
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