@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Poll: NC wants tougher gun laws

Posted March 4, 2013 12:54 p.m. EST
Updated March 4, 2013 1:31 p.m. EST

— A majority of North Carolina residents favor various measures to regulate gun purchases, according to a poll released Monday.

Elon University Poll, which surveyed 891 people statewide last week, also found that North Carolina residents favor an identification requirement for voting and a path to U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.28 percentage points.

Fifty-six percent of respondents support a ban on assault rifles, and 55 percent want the size of ammunition magazines limited. Women and minorities overwhelmingly supported the two restrictions, as did older adults.

The only segment where a majority opposed an assault weapons ban was among respondents ages 18 to 30.

Meanwhile, requiring a background check for all gun buyers is favored by 93 percent of those polled, and 83 percent back a mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases.

“Support for background checks and waiting periods before purchasing a gun is very broad in North Carolina, but proposals to ban certain types of guns or large capacity magazines is less appealing to many citizens,” Elon University Poll director Kenneth Fernandez said in a statement.

In other issues covered in the poll, 72 percent of respondents support the idea of requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. The findings are consistent with an Elon poll conducted a year ago.

Ninety-three percent of Republican respondents back an ID requirement, compared with only 52 percent of Democrat respondents. The GOP-controlled legislature has been trying to get a voter ID law passed for two years, but Democratic lawmakers have vehemently objected, saying it would create a barrier to voting for older and poorer people.

Yet, the two segments of respondents that gave the strongest support for voter ID were people 65 or older and people with incomes less than $25,000.

Eighty percent of respondents say they support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but only 51 percent said they believe immigrants benefit North Carolina. Thirty-eight percent they believe immigrants are a burden to the state.

A majority of Republican respondents characterized immigrants as a burden to the state, but even 69 percent of them called for a pathway to citizenship.

“Our poll results show what many people have known for a while, which is that many North Carolinians have a generally positive view of immigrants,” Fernandez said. “One reason for this may be because North Carolina’s agricultural sector relies so heavily on immigrant labor.”