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Nearly half fear checks could lead to gun confiscation, poll says

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Forty-eight percent of American voters say that the government could use information from a universal background check system to confiscate legally-owned firearms, compared to 38 percent who say it will not, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday.

Even so, support for universal checks remains high: Ninety-one percent of voters favor them, including 88 percent of voters in households with guns.

“In every Quinnipiac University poll since the Newtown massacre, nationally and in six states, we find overwhelming support, including among gun owners, for universal background checks,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “American voters agree with the National Rifle Association, however, that these background checks could lead someday to confiscation of legally-owned guns. The question is how many of these voters fear confiscation as an abuse of government power and how many are hoping the government uses confiscation to get more guns off the street.”

President Obama, at a stop in Denver Wednesday, tried to ease fears of a government seizure of guns.

“If there are any folks who are out there right now who are gun owners, and you’ve been hearing that somehow somebody is taking away your guns, get the facts,” he said. “We’re not proposing a gun registration system; we’re proposing background checks for criminals.”

Fifty-three percent of those polled say they favor stricter gun laws in the country and 59 percent support a national ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons. Fifty-eight percent support a nationwide ban on high-capacity magazines.

The survey of 1,711 registered voters from March 26 through April 1 had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

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