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Editorial

Poll Shows State Is Ready To Lead On Gun Control

UConn/Courant survey says state residents want more restrictions

5:48 PM EST, January 31, 2013

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Because the Dec. 14 Newtown massacre took place in one of our communities, Connecticut should be a national leader in sensible, constitutional gun-control measures. A new poll indicates most residents want that to happen.

According to a University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll, Connecticut residents by wide margins favor such measures as background checks on gun show sales, a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, a federal database to track all gun sales, and preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns.

Overall, 64 percent of residents said they favored stricter law governing gun sales, and 57 percent said the massacre of 26 children and women at Sandy Hook Elementary School made them more likely to support gun control. The poll of 511 randomly selected adults was taken between Jan. 24 and 28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll tells us that, in Connecticut at least, opposition to better gun laws may be loud, but it isn't very deep. When the two task forces studying the issue conclude their work next month, the General Assembly needs to move with all deliberate speed to address what has become one of the worst public health problems in the country, with more than 30,000 gun deaths nationwide a year.

Our congressional delegation must keep pushing for better federal laws as well. Background checks at Connecticut gun shows don't do much good if a criminal can go to a Virginia gun show and buy a small arsenal, no questions asked.

Good research and sensible laws have dramatically lowered the number of traffic deaths; it's time to do the same thing with firearm fatalities.