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Va. poll finds support for armed school officers, gun show checks

January 10, 2013 | Virginia News

BY JIM NOLAN | Richmond Times-Dispatch

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings, a poll of Virginia voters finds strong support for armed police officers in schools, but also indicates overwhelming backing for conducting background checks on buys at gun shows and a desire to limit weapons purchases to one a month.

The Quinnipiac University poll indicates support of 66 percent to 29 percent for an armed officer in every school, while 60-36 percent believe gun purchases should be limited to one per month. Last year, the GOP-controlled General Assembly voted to repeal the state's longstanding ban on purchasing more than one handgun a month.

The greatest disconnect between legislative action and public opinion, however, is on the issue of background checks. According to the poll, Virginians overwhelmingly favor, 92-7, conducting background checks on people who buy guns at gun shows.

Currently, private sellers can sell weapons at gun shows without having to conduct a check of a purchaser; only purchases made from federally licensed dealers at the shows require a background check.

With national and local gun rights groups providing strong lobbying opposition, attempts to close the so-called "gun show loophole" in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 have failed to clear either the Virginia Senate or House. Similar legislation is being proposed this year, but faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled legislature. ...

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