New poll looks at gun control policies ahead of special session

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new poll finds a majority of Virginia voters say it is more important to control who owns guns than to protect gun ownership rights.

That's according to the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

The poll results were released just ahead of a special session of the Virginia General Assembly, which was called for shortly after the May 31 mass shooting at a city government building in Virginia Beach.

In 2016 and 2018, surveys found partisan gaps on the general question of gun control versus gun rights.

Democrats strongly favored gun control while Republicans favored gun rights.

However, the Wason Center poll this year found the partisan disagreement was greatly reduced or erased when voters were asked about specific gun control policies.

Overall, requiring background checks for all gun sales was overwhelmingly favored at 84 percent. Support is strong from both sides, at 96 percent for Democrats and 76 percent for Republicans.

Both sides also strongly oppose allowing anyone who legally owns a gun to carry it concealed without a permit, at 88 percent for Democrats and 72 percent for Republicans.

A strong majority also supports banning assault-style weapons, but there is a partisan split evident between the parties.

For Democrats, 84 percent support the ban, while Republicans are evenly split at 49 percent in support and 49 percent opposed.

"With some close contests in the November election, this gun-control disconnect among Republican voters could put Republican lawmakers in a tight spot in the special session," said Wason Center Director Quentin Kidd."Their voters oppose gun control generally but strongly favor specific gun control proposals that will likely be on the agenda in the special session."

The special session is set to begin Tuesday in Richmond.

To view the full break down of the poll results, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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