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Rasmussen: ‘Most voters favor AWB’ but like handguns

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Gun prohibition groups will likely pounce on a new Rasmussen Reports survey released today that claims 59 percent of likely voters support a ban on “semi-automatic and assault-type weapons,” while an even larger majority supports handgun ownership.

According to a brief report from Rasmussen, seven out of ten people would feel safer living in a neighborhood where people can own guns for self-defense. Only 18 percent still support a handgun ban more than five years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Heller case that such a ban is unconstitutional because it violates the Second Amendment. Also, the survey revealed that 33 percent disagree with the question on semi-auto bans. The questions may be seen here and you can read about their methodology here.

According to Rasmussen, the survey was conducted Dec. 29-30 by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC and has a +/- sampling error of three percentage points.

The new Rasmussen survey result on so-called “assault weapons” doesn’t jibe with a nationwide poll of active duty and retired police officers by Police One.com nine months ago that revealed police doubt such a ban would reduce violent crime. That survey was discussed recently by this column, and it also revealed that another 20.5 percent of the estimated 15,000 respondents suggested that such a ban would have a negative effect in reducing crime.

Three months ago, in mid-September, a different Rasmussen survey revealed that most Americans do not think it is possible to completely prevent mass shootings like the one that had just occurred at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. Seventy-one percent of the respondents doubted that such incidents could be stopped.

What these polls suggest is that the public remains divided on the gun issue, with some still clinging to the notion that it is acceptable to ban whole classes of firearms, though they are decidedly in the minority. Other polls have indicated that people oppose a ban on semi-autos, with younger Americans backing ownership of these guns.

It appears that increasing numbers of Washingtonians are on the pro-Second Amendment side of the gun rights debate. This morning, Examiner learned from the state Department of Licensing that there are now 449,532 active state concealed pistol licenses. That is 56,748 more than the agency reported to this column on Jan. 2, 2013. A year ago today, the number of active CPLs stood at 392,784. If the state continues on this trend, by the end of 2014, a half-million Evergreen State citizens could be licensed to carry.

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