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Latinos support strict gun control laws

March 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Latinos of all political persuasions support stricter gun control laws, creating another headache for Republicans trying to win them over, a polls indicates.

The survey, conducted by Matt Barreto, a political science professor at the University of Washington and founder of the group Latino Decisions, suggests Latinos who identify as Democrats, Republicans or independents support strict new gun control measures. That is significant, Barreto said, because among other demographic and racial groups, the support for gun control is tightly correlated to the individual's political persuasion, with Democrats largely in favor and Republicans almost always opposed, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

"There's a lot of gun violence in black and Latino neighborhoods," Barreto said. "I think Latinos are aware of this, as they regularly cite neighborhood and public safety as an issue."

The poll found 84 percent of Latinos support universal background checks for gun purchases. Substantial majorities also support banning high capacity ammunition magazines and a national gun owner registry -- the latter being a measure even the fiercest gun critics acknowledge is a political impossibility, the Times said.

Fifty-four percent supported a ban on assault weapons.

The issue, likely to be debated in Congress this year, comes as Republicans try to win over more of the fastest growing minority group in the country. In November, Latinos overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama and leading Republicans have acknowledged if they want to win another national election they're going to have to win over more Latinos.

The poll queried 500 Latino voters from Feb. 20-28. Its margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.

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