Pew Research Center: Gun owners most supportive of arming teachers

03/8/18 7:00 AM | by

FT_18.02.23_teachersGuns_party

A Pew Research Center poll conducted last year found a majority of gun owners approved of arming school teachers.

Six in 10 owners expressed some level of support for allowing teachers and staff to carry firearms while working. Overall, 55 percent of those surveyed in March and April 2017 disagree with arming teachers, compared to 45 percent in favor.

“The recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida, has reignited a national debate about guns in America,” said Juliana Menasce Horowitz, an associate director of research at Pew. “In particular, as the conversation has focused on how to keep children safe in schools, the idea of arming some teachers has garnered attention.”

Horowitz analyzed the year-old data for insight into American attitudes on gun laws. The results showed few surprises: eight out of 10 Republican-leaning gun owners favored arming teachers compared with just four in 10 Democratic owners. Some 69 percent of Republicans overall support the policy compared to just 26 percent of Democrats.

Arming teachers made national headlines last month after President Donald Trump suggested the controversial policy in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He also advocated “hardening” schools, banning bump stocks, placing age limits on rifle purchases and shoring up the federal background check system for gun buyers.

“The key in all of these efforts … is that we cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,” Trump said last month. “We must actually make a difference. We must move past clichés and tired debates and focus on evidence-based solutions and security measures that actually work and that make it easier for men and women of law enforcement to protect our children.”

Public support for arming teachers appears mixed. A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,992 registered voters compiled last month indicates 50 percent of respondents support the idea.

Meanwhile, a joint Ipsos and National Public Radio poll of 1,005 adults collected Feb. 27-28 found just 41 percent of respondents approve.

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