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Worried Americans rethinking gun control.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- "People now understand that we are in danger of losing the next generation to gunfire," said Cheryl Brolin, a spokesperson for the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, referring to a recent poll that shows a majority of Americans favor outlawing handgun sales.

The survey was conducted in April by pollster Louis Harris. Harris said that his poll was the first to show majority support for a ban, and called it a "sea change of public opinion on this issue," according to an Associated Press report.

Fifty-two percent of the 1,250 adults polled were in favor of a ban and 43 percent opposed. The majority was narrow enough to fall within the survey's margin of error, plus or minus three percentage points.

Americans in increasing numbers have concluded that "guns they are getting for their self-protection are a menace in their lives," Harris said. Although 42 percent of adults reported having a gun in the household, many expressed doubts about whether such weapons actually afford more protection.

"This shows what we have been saying for years, the fact that we need some sweeping gun control in this country," Brolin told NCR.

The poll found that concern for the safety of children in an increasingly violent society was the main factor in the trend for gun control.

"With 14 kids killed every day in gunfire and with gunfire being the leading cause of death in the country, kids just aren't safe anymore," Jeff Muchnick, legislative director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told NCR.

Twenty-five percent of adults surveyed thought most children live in safe neighborhoods, and 29 percent said most children attend schools free of violence.

"Cultural changes need to be happening now, and this needs to start with children," Brolin said, adding that children need to be educated on the realities of guns in their school curriculum. "Guns have to be deglamourized."

A separate study in USA Today, conducted by Brolin's center and the Justice Department, found that an estimated 100,000 children carry a gun to school every day in America.

The Harris poll also found that 25 percent of those favoring a ban on handguns expressed willingness to vote against those who disagreed. "People describe this ban as a radical proposal," Muchnick said. "But if it's supported by the majority of Americans, it's not radical."
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Author:Abner, Marchel
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Jun 18, 1993
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