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RICHMOND — A new statewide poll finds overwhelming support in Virginia for requiring background checks on buyers at gun shows and for posting armed police officers in public school buildings after last month's Connecticut school shooting.

Quinnipiac University's survey also shows that half of the 1,134 registered Virginia voters surveyed Jan. 4-7 believe gun ownership protects people from criminals, while 41 percent said it puts them more at risk.

Virginia requires licensed firearm dealers to check backgrounds of all purchasers, but a loophole in the law exempts purchases at gun shows, which are large, private weapons bazaars. A Republican legislature has repeatedly rebuffed efforts to close the loophole.

The survey, released Thursday, found 92 percent favor gun show background checks.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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