Texans favor a proposed ban on assault weapons, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling, with 49 percent in support compared to 41 percent opposed.
PPP published the results on Wednesday, on the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings on measures to address gun violence, including an assault weapons ban. President Barack Obama backs the measures.
Lone Star State citizens have historically been among the strongest opponents of gun restrictions. A week ago, a Gallup poll asked a similar question in a nationwide poll, with 60 percent supporting an assault weapons ban and 35 percent opposed.
Both Texas senators serve on the Judiciary Committee.
“I have a hard time telling my constituents in Texas that Congress is looking at passing a whole raft of new laws, when the laws that we currently have on the books are so woefully unenforced,” Sen. John Cornyn said.
The PPP Texas poll showed a partisan divide, with 75 percent of Democrats favoring a ban, and 23 percent of Republicans in favor. Independents favored a ban by a 53 percent to 34 percent margin.
An ethnic divide existed as well. African Americans were the strongest group to support a ban at 68 percent, followed by Hispanics at 59 percent in support. Only 41 percent of white respondents favored a ban, with 50 percent opposing.
All three age demographics supported the assault weapons ban, with support increasing among younger respondents. The youngest group, 18 to 45, supported the ban at 53 percent, those 46 to 65 supported the ban 49 percent to 43 percent, and lastly those 65 or older barely supported a ban at 45 percent to 42 percent.
However, in the Senate, neither Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., nor Judiciary chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. have supported measures to ban assault weapons.