WASHINGTON TIMES — CHICAGO (AP) — LaShun Roy supports a ban on semi-automatic weapons and more comprehensive background checks. But the 21-year-old gun owner from rural Texas doesn’t consider gun-control measures a top priority in this year’s elections.
For Keionna Cottrell, a 24-year-old who lives on Chicago’s South Side and whose brother was shot and killed this year in another Illinois city, few things are more important than limiting access to guns.
“So many people are dying here because there is no control of the weapons out on our streets,” said Cottrell. “Young men … have real military guns and they’re not scared to use them.”
Although their lives and experiences differ, the young women’s shared support for additional policies to curb gun violence reflects the feelings of many Americans between the ages of 18 and 30, regardless of their backgrounds, according to a new GenForward poll.
About 9 in 10 young adults say they support criminal background checks for all gun sales, a level of support that remains consistent across racial and ethnic groups. Stiffer penalties for violating existing gun laws are supported by 9 in 10 young adults, including about 9 in 10 whites, Asian-Americans and Latinos, as well as 8 in 10 African-Americans.
Fifty-seven percent of young Americans support a ban on rapid-firing semi-automatic weapons, with support especially high – 74 percent – among Asian-Americans, the poll found.
GenForward is a survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The first-of-its-kind poll pays special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation.
Roy, a full-time college student who learned to handle assault rifles while serving in the National Guard, said it’s possible to protect the rights of gun owners and implement safeguards. That puts her among the 54 percent of young adults – including 61 percent of Asian-Americans, 57 percent of African-Americans and 52 percent of Latinos and whites – who say laws limiting gun ownership do not infringe on the public’s right to bear arms.
“I think it’s important to make sure the government isn’t going door to door saying, ‘Let me see your guns and ammo,’” said Roy, who is black. “But I think it’s really important to have background checks … and make sure a felon can’t get a gun.”
She also believes a new Texas law that permits the open carrying of guns on college campuses is a bad idea.
• D.C. GUN ADVOCATES FIGHT TO LEGALIZE TASERS — WASHINGTON TIMES