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Floridians Really Want Gun Background Checks, Support Assault Weapon Ban

Florida may well be the "Gunshine State," but like the rest of the nation, its residents still overwhelmingly support background checks on all gun purchases. More surprising, a solid majority of Floridians also want a national ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

That's according to Quinnipiac's new poll, which found an eye-opening 91 percent support for universal background checks and majorities over 50 percent for stricter gun control measures.

See also:
- Assault Rifles Are Big Business in Florida as Federal Ban Looms


Quinnipiac surveyed 1,000 registered voters for its latest Florida poll and give the results a 3.1 percent margin of error.

No matter what kind of statistical uncertainty the model might carry, the numbers make it clear that Florida residents want the government to do more to make sure mentally unstable or felonious residents can't buy guns.

"Floridians' views on guns are pretty much in line with results seen in other states surveyed by Quinnipiac University," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, says in a release. "The idea of requiring background checks on those who want to buy guns has overwhelming support, 91 to 8 percent, in a country where getting a majority to agree on anything is often difficult."

Even gun-owning households back tighter checks by an 88-to-11 percent margin.

On the question of whether to ban assault rifles -- a topic New Times covered in a feature story last month -- a 56-to-41 percent majority favors the move. (Although gun-owners were opposed 57 to 41 percent.) The survey found that 60 percent in Florida believes putting assault rifles in the hands of average joes makes the country more dangerous.

A slightly smaller majority, at 53 to 43 percent, favors bans on high-capacity magazines, Quinnipiac found.

Don't worry, though -- Florida hasn't gone all peace, love, and happiness on gun issues. The poll still found a 57 percent majority who say private gun ownership makes the state a safer place, and 59 percent back the NRA's plan to put armed cops in every school.

Just as striking, 45 percent say the NRA best represents their views on gun issues, with 44 percent saying President Obama is the better voice on gun rights.

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