The Washington Times - January 30, 2013, 11:59AM

The majority of Americans look askance at officials who use gun rights issues for their own political benefit.

“Many elected officials have called for swift government action in response to the Newtown shooting. Which comes closest to your view?” asks a new Reason-Rupe survey released Wednesday.

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Fifty two percent agreed that “elected officials are exploiting the tragedy for political reasons,” the poll found.

“Democrats differ sharply from independents and Republicans on the issue. Seventy-one percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents think the tragedy is being politicized, while just 32 percent of Democrats believe so, says Reason analyst Emily Ekins.

“If the federal ban on assault weapons that expired in were still in effect, do you think is would have helped avoid the Newtown shooting?” the survey also asked.

More than two thirds said “no,” while another 51 percent said that people should be allowed to own assault weapons.

Among respondents in the wide ranging poll, 54 percent said there was not a firearm in their household; 49 percent said they were Democrats, or leaned that way, while 37 percent were Republicans, or Republican leaning.

The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Jan. 17-21. See it all here: http://reason.com/poll