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Trayvon Martin shooting: Americans support use of deadly force, says poll

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While the killing of Florida's Trayvon Martin has stoked up gun control advocates and much of the news media, an overwhelming majority of U.S. residents say they believe people have the right to use deadly physical force to protect themselves at home or in public, according to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos released on Friday.

In addition, majorities of Republicans and Democrats have a favorable view of the National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun-owners group, the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.

The survey revealed that 68 percent, or two out of three respondents, had a favorable opinion of the NRA, which started its annual convention in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday with guest speaker Mitt Romney, the GOP frontrunner for nomination as presidential candidate.

A whopping 82 percent of Republicans view the gun group as a positive influence, as well as 55 percent of Democrats, findings that run counter to the perception of Democrats as anti-NRA.

"The fact is Democrat Party officials and politicians are pro-gun control with some Republican politicos joining them in their attempts to pass more and more guns laws," said former New York police officer Iris Aquino, now a self-defense instructor. "But a clear majority of Democratic voters are believers in the Second Amendment."

Most of the 1,922 people surveyed nationwide from April Monday through Thursday said they supported laws that allow Americans to use deadly physical force to protect themselves from danger in their own home or in a public place, the poll revealed.

However, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence claims nearly 100,000 people are shot every year in the United States in murders, suicides, accidents or police intervention.

But government statistics show 31,347 people died in the United States in 2009 from gunshots, including 11,493 in homicides, a far cry from 100,000.

On Friday, Mitt Romney gave a rousing address before the attendees at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association in St. Louis, Missouri.

"We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and those seeking to protect their homes and their families," Romney said. "President Obama has not. I will."

Romney received a standing ovation and enormous applause when he demanded the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder because of his involvement and perceived cover-up of Operation Fast & Furious.

Many of the attendees at the NRA event believe that the notorious Operation Fast & Furious was more about creating another excuse for tighter gun control than about protecting Americans and Mexicans from drug cartels.

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