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Polls find strong support for national gun registry, Keystone XL pipeline

Residents of New Jersey, New York and even Virginia back a gun registry. AP Photo

Three new polls released Tuesday found growing and overwhelming support for a national gun registry that could require all gun owners to tell police what they have, including how much ammo they’ve hidden away.

Residents of Virginia, New Jersey and New York back a gun registry by nearly two-to-one or more in the jointly released polls that also found even greater support for building the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring Canadian oil into the United States.

The gun registry issue has been on the sidelines ever since Congress backed off pushing gun control measures following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. But it appears to remain a hot topic in the nation, even in Virginia, home to the National Rifle Association and where residents are much less inclined to limit gun purchases than in other states.

According to the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College poll, 63 percent of Virginians support a gun registry, 34 percent don’t. New Jersey residents back one 74 percent to 22 percent in an Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University poll. And New Yorkers support it 68 percent to 29 percent in a Siena College Research Institute survey. The three state surveys, provided in advance to Secrets, were conducted jointly.

On the gun issue, Virginia was the stand out. “Given a huge disparity in gun ownership rates ­-- half in Virginia compared to one in seven in the two northern states -- the much smaller differences on support for a national gun registry are surprising. Virginians are less supportive of stricter gun laws, but those differences are relatively small,” said Harry Wilson, director of Roanoke's Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.

The question, however, did not describe what a registry would do or what would be required. Some proposals in states combine ammo and guns in registry plans. Voters, however, have rejected many of those plans and in other polls, gun owners have rejected suggestions that they provide details on what they own.

The surveys asked a wide-range of unrelated questions that essentially found support strong for Hillary Clinton's potential bid for the presidency, opposition to the National Security Agency's spying on Americans, a path to citizenship for law-abiding illegal immigrants and raising the minimum wage.

See the poll crosstabs here.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.