HARTFORD — A new Quinnipiac University poll found huge support for new gun control measures in the wake of the tragic high school massacre last week in Florida.
According to the poll conducted from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19 and released Tuesday, 66 percent of American voters support stricter gun laws, with 31 percent opposed — the highest level of support ever measured by Quinnipiac.
The poll also found that 67 percent of those surveyed support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.
"If you think Americans are largely unmoved by the mass shootings, you should think again," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Support for stricter gun laws is up 19 points in little more than 2 years."
Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said support for gun control always rises after a mass shooting.
“It’s on the tail end of an emotionally charged event,” Wilson said of the poll. “But it strikes me as peculiar that we consider forfeiting our constitutional rights as the first solution as opposed to looking at other solutions.”
Wilson noted police were called many times regarding the 19 year old Florida shooter before his rampage and the FBI failed to follow through on reports that he posed a danger.
“There are other things we can try to stem the violence,” Wilson said, adding he supports a bill introduced in Florida that would allow teachers to carry guns.
The polls also found that 50 percent of gun owners support stronger controls, compared to 44 percent opposed and support for universal background checks was almost universal — 97 percent in favor compared to two percent against.
The college noted that support for gun control is at its highest level since the Quinnipiac University poll began focusing on the issue in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Other findings include:
83 percent support for a mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases, compared to 14 percent in opposition.
67 percent of voters said it’s too easy to buy a gun in the U.S.
75 percent of voters said Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence.
Malloy said support for new guns laws is growing among a key block of voters.
"In the last two months, some of the biggest surges in support for tightening gun laws comes from demographic groups you may not expect, independent voters, men, and whites with no college degree," Malloy said.