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Pennsylvania favors background checks for gun purchases: poll

People hold signs memorializing Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 children and adults were killed in a mass shooting in December, as th
People hold signs memorializing Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 children and adults were killed in a mass shooting in December, as th

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gun control is generally a tough sell in Pennsylvania - a Republican-ruled state with a large rural population - but a new poll suggests strong support for some measures, especially universal background checks on gun buyers.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday found that voters in the state support requiring background checks for all gun purchases by a margin of 95 to 5.

Six in 10 voters in the Keystone State also favor a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, while nearly as many support a ban on the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds, the poll found.

In the aftermath of the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 first graders and six educators after killing his mother, New York approved a set of new controls and lawmakers in Connecticut are considering doing the same.

President Barack Obama has proposed a series of new federal laws, including expanding background checks.

Voters in Pennsylvania also favor an idea put forward by the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, that armed guards be stationed at schools as an alternative to restrictions on guns.

Pennsylvania voters say by a margin of 46 to 42 percent that having armed guards in schools would do more to reduce gun violence than stricter gun laws.

The telephone survey of 1,221 registered voters was conducted January 22-27, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

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