POLL: Virginians want armed officers in schools

Posted at 8:20 AM, Jan 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-10 13:08:21-05

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Virginians support the idea of placing an armed police officer in every school. According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, they support the idea 66 to 29 percent.

The poll gauged how Virginians feel a range of gun control issues following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, and found that they fall on both sides of the issue.

The poll found Virginians support limiting gun purchases to one a month, 60 to 36 percent. This comes about a year after the General Assembly voted to repeal the state's one-handgun a month law.

According to the poll, Virginians overwhelmingly support closing the so-called gun show loophole, and require people seeking to purchase guns at gunshows to submits to background checks.

Overall, Virignians are slightly in favor of imposing tighter gun restrictions, with 49 percent of voters saying gun control laws should be more strict, 42 percent think they should remain the same, and just 6 percent saying they should be less strict.

Virginians, by a slight margin, are in favor of more gun control, but they don’t seem to fit nicely into either camp in the gun debate following the Newtown school massacre,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “There has been a small increase in the number favoring tougher gun control, but it is not large. Moreover, the idea of stationing armed police in public schools, which many nationally have ridiculed, is favored by two out of three Virginians.”

Here's a basic rundown on how Virginians feel about a variety of gun-control issues:

  • 58 – 39 percent support for a national ban on assault weapons;
  • 59 – 37 percent support for banning high capacity ammunition magazines;
  • 62 – 27 percent that allowing people to own assault weapons makes the country more dangerous;
  • 64 – 24 percent that if they agreed with a political candidate on other issues, but not on the issue of guns, they could still vote for that candidate;
  • 66 – 31 percent oppose allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom;
  • 59 – 33 percent that the National Rifle Assn. is more concerned with protecting gun-owners’ rights than in protecting gun-makers’ profits.

Looking for the most effective way to prevent mass shootings at schools:

  • 29 percent say increase government spending on mental health;
  • 27 percent say increase police presence at schools;
  • 24 percent say ban assault weapons;
  • 16 percent say reduce gun violence on television, in movies and video games.

The poll also examined how Virginians feel about the budget deal struck in Washington, D.C. to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Overall, registered voters surveyed disapprove of the agreement made, 46 to 41 percent. Virginians also say they are more frustrated than relieved by the deal, 55 to 37 percent.

Voters also gave President Obama a positive approval rating of 52 percent.

From January 4 – 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,134 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.