WASHINGTON -- About nine out of 10 high school students support gun-control measures such as criminal background checks and mandatory trigger locks, according to a survey released Monday.
The same number of students said they favored requiring a safety course and a license to purchase a handgun, and 96 percent supported registering the weapons when purchased so they could be traced if necessary, said Dennis Gilbert, a sociology professor at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. who designed the survey with his students.
"American high school students have a shockingly high level of exposure to guns and gun violence," Gilbert said in an interview.
The polling firm Zogby International conducted the nationwide telephone survey during three days in June by calling 1,005 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Students in the East and South were most likely to support gun control, followed by those in the West and Midwest, the poll found.
A quarter of the students said they or someone close to them had been shot in a situation unrelated to military combat. The proportion that rose to nearly half for students living in cities with populations greater than half a million.
One junior at an urban high school in the Midwest said a close friend had been shot dead while playing basketball, while others reported hunting accidents and other firearm mishaps, the study said.
While four out of five students said the government should keep guns away from criminals even if it becomes harder for everyone else to purchase them, the same number said Americans have a constitutional right to own firearms.
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