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There’s a significant caveat, however, Ms. Saad continues: “Views toward banning semi-automatic guns or assault rifles are unchanged, and – possibly reflecting Americans' desire to defend themselves given the rash of high-profile gun violence – a record-high 74 percent oppose preventing anyone but the police or other authorized officials from owning a handgun.”
This negative attitude toward restricting handgun ownership is seen in the sharp and vocal criticism of the Journal News newspaper’s publishing of names and addresses of 44,000 licensed handgun owners in two New York counties this past week with locations pin-pointed using Google maps.
In response, New York state senator Greg Ball has proposed legislation that would bar the public from learning who the gun permit holders are in their communities. In an online survey, the Journal News finds overwhelming support – 89-11 percent – for the proposal to keep gun ownership private.
Meanwhile, the phones at gun shops across the country are ringing off the hook, according to the Associated Press.
“Demand for firearms, ammunition and bulletproof gear has surged since the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 20 schoolchildren and six teachers and administrators,” reports the AP. “The shooting sparked calls for tighter gun control measures, especially for military-style assault weapons like the ones used in Newtown and in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting earlier this year. The prospect of a possible weapons ban has sent gun enthusiasts into a panic and sparked a frenzy of buying at stores and gun dealers nationwide.”
In Colorado, reports the Denver Post, the rush to buy guns has become so great that the waiting time for background checks by a state investigative bureau – some 3,000 a day now – has gone from a few minutes to several days.
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