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Gun Control Support Rises in Colo.

November 5, 1999

DENVER (AP) _ Public support in Colorado for several gun-control measures grew significantly after the Columbine High School massacre, according to a University of Colorado survey released Thursday.

While earlier surveys found a slight majority in favor of measures dealing with semiautomatic weapons and sales to minors, the new survey found support ranging from 73 percent to 92 percent.

Eighty-three percent of the 900 people responding to the survey favored prohibiting the sale of any gun to anyone under 18. Colorado law permits the sale of rifles and shotguns to minors.

Seventy-three percent favored banning all sales of semiautomatic weapons, and 92 percent supported expanding state law to require background checks before weapons are sold at gun shows. Automatic weapons are already banned under federal law.

In earlier polls, the majority of people in Colorado supported the same measures but that support was less than 60 percent, according to Marshall Kaplan, director of the university’s Institute for Public Policy. The increased support is ``a clear indication that Columbine has shifted public opinion,″ he said.

The new telephone survey, which had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points, was commissioned by the Denver City Attorney’s office before Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold fatally shot 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves on April 20.

The survey was conducted in August and September.

The survey included a reference to Columbine when polltakers asked for comment but did not ask participants if their views had changed since the attack.

A week after Columbine, a national Associated Press poll found 51 percent of those surveyed saw tougher gun laws as more effective than tightened enforcement. That was up 9 points from a poll taken pre-Columbine.

Not only has support for gun-control measures grown, but ``people are braver″ about making their views known, said the institute’s Peggy Cuciti.

Sixty-four percent of the people contacted agreed to state their views, a very high number for poll responses, Cuciti said.

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