Half of registered voters agree with President Donald Trump on arming teachers, according to a new poll.
Trump called for considering the training and arming of teachers in the wake of the deadly Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 people and wounded at least 14. He tweeted that teachers “and trusted people who work within a school” should receive a yearly bonus if they arm themselves.
Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018
Fifty percent of those polled support arming teachers, 43 percent oppose it, and 8 percent said they don’t know or had no opinion in the Morning Consult/Politico poll. The total didn’t equal 100 percent owing to rounding.
Asked whether they thought equipping teachers and school staff with concealed firearms to respond in the event of a school shooting would make schools more or less safe, or not have much impact either way, a plurality—39 percent—answered they would feel safer if teachers were armed. Twenty-nine percent said less safe, 20 percent said it would not make a difference either way, and 12 percent didn’t know or had no opinion.
Republicans favor arming teachers much more than Democrats, with 72 percent of the former supporting the idea and 61 percent of the latter opposing it.
Forty-one percent of the poll’s respondents own guns themselves.
Trump said it was “up to states” to pass legislation authorizing arming teachers, but Michael Steel, former spokesman for then-House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told the pollster that Trump has a chance to get something done nationally.
“I think because of the president’s extraordinarily close relationship with the [National Rifle Association] and his enormous credibility with base GOP voters on this issue, particularly strong in rural areas, I think he has the opportunity to get something done,” he said.
Morning Consult/Politico conducted the poll Feb. 22-26 among a national sample of 1,992 registered voters in online interviews. The data were weighted to match the demographics of registered voters, and the margin of error is plus or minus 2 percent.
There are eight states that already allow teachers to carry guns on K-12 school grounds, The Wall Street Journal reported, and six other states are considering legislation to allow teachers to carry.