Connecticut Voters Back Gun Control, General Assembly Ready

Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A student pauses near a targets during a pistol class taught by King 33 Training at a shooting range on Feb. 24, 2013 in Wallingford, Connecticut.

This may come as little surprise, post-Newtown:

Connecticut voters support stronger gun control measures by a 2 to 1 margin, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. Among women, 75 percent want stronger gun laws, the poll shows.

“The big takeaway from this is that Connecticut voters overwhelmingly support gun control measures,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of polling at Quinnipiac University, speaking at a news conference in Hartford.

The survey is the first Quinnipiac poll since the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six educators dead. The university had not recently surveyed on gun control — so it is unclear how attitudes have changed. “There is no trend data,” Schwartz said.

The poll shows 93 percent support background checks on all gun sales, 68 percent favor expanding the state ban on assault weapons and 68 percent want magazine clips to be reduced to 10 bullets from 30.

On the support for universal background checks, Schwartz said: “I’ve never seen numbers so high.”

Legislative leaders are set to begin meeting within the hour at the Hartford statehouse to craft an emergency gun control measure. The bill could be debated in both chambers as early as next week.

“I’m optimistic that we will reach a consensus on a meaningful bill,” said Connecticut House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, a Democrat, in an interview this afternoon. He said there was “every indication” that the bill would include universal background checks, a wider ban on assault weapons and smaller magazines.

tA bipartisan legislative committee failed to reach consensus yesterday on those measures, with Republican members balking at reducing magazine sizes and expanding the weapons ban. Democrats control both chambers in the Connecticut General Assembly and do not need Republican support to pass legislation.

Nevertheless, Democratic leaders said they’ve sought Republican input in part because they are not using the regular committee process to bring the bill to the floor.

“What gets lost in the conversation sometimes is the fact that this task force is an extraordinary process and one that is completely unprecedented and it outside what we normally do in the development of bills,” said Sharkey, of Hamden.

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