Poll: Virginia voters favor armed guards in schools
January 10th, 2013
09:38 AM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Virginia voters favor armed guards in schools

(CNN) – While two-thirds of Virginia voters say they want armed guards in schools, the voting bloc is more split on their opinions over gun control laws in general, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

By a margin of 66%-29%, voters say they support the idea of placing an armed police officer in every school, a proposal pushed by the National Rifle Association in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting last month.

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell in December expressed openness to the notion of equipping school personnel with guns. Though he did not outwardly endorse such a plan, he cautioned against immediately rejecting it.

"I think there should be a discussion of that – if people were armed, not just the police officer but other school officials were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would have been an opportunity to stop aggressors coming in to the schools," McDonnell said in an interview on WTOP, a Washington radio station.

At the same time, the Quinnipiac poll shows nearly half of registered voters in Virginia, where the NRA has its headquarters, say gun regulations in the commonwealth should be stricter. Six percent say they should be less strict, while 42% say firearm laws should stand as they are.

Virginia is also the site of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, the most deadly school shooting in U.S. history that left 33 dead, including the gunman.

Getting more specific on proposals, a majority-60%–say they favor limiting gun purchases to one a month, and an overwhelming amount of voters-92%–say they support background checks for individuals who buy firearms at gun shows. Federal law currently exempts gun purchasers from background checks in private sales.

At the federal level, Virginia voters support a national ban on assault weapons by a margin of 58% to 39%. The U.S. had such a ban from 1994 until it expired in 2004. It was not renewed nine years ago, but recent attention has spurred many calls on Capitol Hill for a reinstatement of the ban.

Other lawmakers have supported a more narrow focus of eliminating high capacity magazines, devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. In Virginia, 59% of voters say they favor such a proposal, while 37% oppose it.

When it comes to views on the purpose of guns, 50% say firearms help protect people from crime while 41% say it "puts people at risk."

"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., in a statement. "There has been a small increase in the number favoring tougher gun control, but it is not large."

For the poll, Quinnipiac interviewed 1,134 registered voters from January 4 through January 7. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Gun rights • Polls • Virginia
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. wisconsin101

    If you want immediate results today and not tomorrow, then put armed police in schools. What will take a decade of more to see results are banning sales of assault guns and large clip sizes and beef up the mental health rules. We need to do the regulations but I also want immediate safety and that can only be accomplished by armed police presence. Many have been laid off in the budget cuts so they are trained, readily available and can be enforcing schools within a week.

    January 10, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. rs

    If that is their solution- great. How are they going to pay for it? Are they willing to raise their own taxes? Is bigger government the answer? What about malls? What about parks? What about college campuses? Where does this pandering to the gun crowd stop?

    January 10, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. HenryMiller

    As a former resident of Virginia, excellent! Common sense still reigns!

    January 10, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Wake up People!

    Virginia. Why am I NOT surprised??

    January 10, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. Flippers Dad

    Virginia has some of the most common sense gun laws in the country. Nothing needs to be changed. Stay smart VA.

    January 10, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Russ

    How many schools? How much money? Most cities can't pay for the officers they have. Plus how long do you think it would take for crazed fool to take an unsuspecting armed officer? Or will they have superman powers to see the hidden weapons?

    January 10, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. B. Caspar

    Shrt sighted solutions will not make the schools safer. This isn't just about schools. it's also about the 800 people that have been shot and killed since the Newtown episode. With 35 people a day being murdered by guns there is a climate of change that must take place. If you feel that you need armed guards (possibly the stupidist idea I have ever heard of) in schools then I will hazard a guess that you feel you need a concealed weapon to protect yourself. Dangerous ideology

    January 10, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. Moose

    Its sad but this really boils down to PARENTS NOT RAISING THIER CHILDREN, If parents were allowed ti discipline, thier kids today, we wouldnt have half the problems we have today. If dads stuck arond and moms didnt expect daycare or schools to baby sit we would have a chance As long as people who cant afford kids keep having them, the problem will continue, IF YOU BREED IT, YOU RAISE IT. Its a shame for people to have to pay for other peoples mistakes. Yes arm yourself!!!

    January 10, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. trex

    ...Ok, just how long till a 17 year old football lineman wrestles the 68 year old guard's gun away from him and starts shooting?.................

    January 10, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. Sniffit

    This is the conservative brain's answer to everything that isn't working:

    "Excuse me, but 50+ years of evidence shows that trickle-down seems to be having the paradoxical efefct of redistributing wealth upwards."....."Oh? Well, cut the wealthy's taxes even more...it'll work this time...promise."

    "We are having a problem with 300M+ guns in circulation and overly easy access to guns such that violent, mentally ill individuals are having a field day getting their hands on them and gun violence is rampant on our street."...."Oh? well, then what we need is more guns on the street...and Glock in every purse! More guns means less guns being shot!"


    January 10, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. Larry L

    I've lived in countries where armed guards greeted you at schools, factories, hotels, and private homes. They were not the sort of places Americans would choose to raise a family. If guards were used in our schools the system would also require very limited points of egress and access, security windows, camera systems, and a lock-down system for doors. These modifications would require considerable funding and would only offer a modest level of protection since all of those systems are relatively easily defeated – especially a low-wage, inadequately trained armed guard.

    January 10, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. v_mag

    HenryMiller said, "As a former resident of Virginia, excellent! Common sense still reigns!"
    Well, this is quite a surprise coming from our resident libertarian. I thought you didn't like Big Government, Henry. Armed guards in every school in the state? Can you imagine the expense and bureaucracy? Why don't you just advocate "every kindergartner for himself", in the true libertarian spirit? Let everybody carry a weapon to school, work, the bathroom, church, and everywhere else they go. As they used to say in 'Nam, "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out". It's just common sense.

    Or, we could stand up to the right wing conspiracy theorizing nutcakes who think we're on the verge of revolution and that their AR-15s will defend them against tanks and F-16s. We could do like Australia and ban automatic and semi-automatic weapons, buy back the ones that are already out there, and put them all in the crusher. Pay for that by a tax on gun and ammunition sales. As for large capacity clips, the gun nuts can hold on to those for nostalgia, as long as they don't have a gun to put them into.

    January 10, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If, once the school day starts, there is only one way into the building that the school office controls, then that reduces what can be done inside schools. The only issue with CT attack was that the shooter was able to force the door open. If it was a stronger door with bullet proof glass (along with all the other first floor windows), it would take longer for him to get in and give more time for the police to get there. Arming the staff isn't the best solution. It is not their profession to carry weapons. That is for the police.

    January 10, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. Wake up People!

    @Moose. I couldn't agree more. It starts with the parents. Since you brought up discipline, might I add that children no longer have respect for adults either. I can't believe how kids talk to their parents these days. It's like the kids are the parents and the parents are the kids. Everyone wants their children to love them, that's a given, but what most parents don't realize, kids love their parents no matter what. I have known hardcore drug addicts in my lifetime growing up in and around Detroit. And guess what? Their kids love them. So you don't have to bend and cater to your child for everything for them to love you.

    January 10, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. v_mag

    Moose said: "Its sad but this really boils down to PARENTS NOT RAISING THIER CHILDREN, ..."
    It's hard to find a sensible word in this post. Moose thinks people aren't "allowed" to discipline their children, and therefore we have gun violence. 1 + 1 = , uh, 5? So, maybe his cure is to encourage degenerate parents to wallop the heck out of a kid, and that will stop the carnage?

    People keep bringing up "common sense", and yet I see so little expressed that makes even the slightest sense.

    January 10, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. BigPPP

    How do we make sure all these propsed armed guards are mentaly healthy,
    test them? how frequently?
    How do we know the doctor is trained properly to perform this test?
    Yes, let us have more guns, so good guys can shoot bad guys? Who is the bad guy before he shoot others? Who is the judge for the determination of a bad guy vs. good guy. To me, the NRA leaders are bad guys, do I shoot them now before they send their guns to the bad guys if I used their logic?

    January 10, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. rs

    Sure- Virginia whose gun laws flood east coast states with weapons is right on anything? Not likely.

    January 10, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. v_mag

    Right wingers want to wait until the last possible moment to prevent babies from being blown apart. So, their solution is to wait until the demented person has his hands on an AR-15, a Glock, and several hundred rounds of ammo, dons his flak jacket, and blows the door on the elementary school. At which point, the NRA scheme kicks in and a young female teacher miraculously becomes Rambo, with a perfect head shot to the perpetrator. Realistic, huh?

    I prefer a preventative approach. The demented person looks around and discovers there are no AR-15s, gets depressed because he will never achieve mass murderer status, and offs himself, saving us all lots of money and heartache.

    January 10, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. Moose

    v-mag, how you jump to conclusions, must be a lib, everythings good if you agree with me, do you have a kid ?? are on gov support??? are your children being raised by daycare??? if so than you are a big part of the problem. the point is raise your children dont ship them off on others, then critique how they raise them, plus its not just low income people who push thier kids off on others. Wealthy do the same if you have children than you must be responsable for them. i didnt at any time say wallup them !!

    January 10, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. Sniffit

    First thing out of the NRA's mouths when sitting down with Biden's task force was that they would not participate in any discussion of new or changed regualtions, aclling it a "non-starter." They live in a magic fantasy land of incorrect, imaginary, ideological absolutes. You cannot have a rational discussion/debate with people like that. They are to be ignored in favor of progress or they poison every attempt to disuss reasonable solutions. It's the same with the whole debacle of the GOP/Teatrolls groveling at Norquist's feet. Enough is enough. Either participate in good faith or accept that we're going to ignore you.

    January 10, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. ST

    Why make schools war zones? Having armed guards in schools is like inviting those who want to do harm to kids. They will also come well prepared. You eliminate anything/something by cutting it off completely and NOT blocking it.

    January 10, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. Sheila

    Virginia should do what they want to do – if they want armed guards in every little drive-in / diner / or dives – or in every little barber shop, it's ok w/ me. But I think it's ridiculous. As long as they take the Money to pay for it, Out of Virginia's State Government, not the Federal, which I pay into.

    January 10, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Mommy

    Okay...first of all I WOULD pay more taxes no matter what as long as I knew my kids were going to be protected...I am a mother of 2 toddlers, I carry a gun and I dont shelter my kids from stuff, they be young but they are damn smart, we dont leave our guns laying around the house no, but when they are out with us we let them watch and teach them my 4 year old knows how to hold, shoot, and clean his bb gun..granted it is a bb gun but can be jsut as dangerous so we teach him...we are not worried about our kids around OUR guns bc we teach them and take the propper measurments to keep them put up when we are not the one's handling them...(yes we lock up his bb gun too, bc he's a big boy and he knows guns are supposed to be locked up so he wants his to be locked up with our rifles, shotguns, pistols...oh he also has a air soft pistol :)...but a lot of people are right about the knee jerk reactions...poeple need to think calmly no i dont want more guns ristricted we like our AR-15, its fun to target shoot with it, and it looks badass, I really wish poeple would be reasonable...if you dont like guns or want them around thats ok thats your right I dont care but where I live (small town w/ 2100 poeple) having teachers amred would be welcomed now bc we are scared but bc you NEVER know and as for the parenting part, We both have to have full time jobs in this economy trust me I would LOVE to be a stay at home, just like my husbands mom was and my mom was, its just not pratical, but just bc my kids have to go to a daycare (which i was careful and met with a lot before i chose, and i chose a christian church) doesnt mean that i dont do my best to raise them right and teach them, and i think schools that want teachers armed should be able to let it be a city or state ordinace and a national bc poeple are right some schools probably should have armed teachers bc there are so many kids (that are mislead and mistaught and dont knwo right from wrong) but it schools like the ones my children will be in I honestly dont have a problem with it, you can walk down the streets in our time and i bet at lieast 80% of poeple have concealed guns...I am not scared to walk around my town...and by the way the crime rate in my town is next to nothing! We still live where poeple know how to raise their children and are knowledgable with firearms. I just hope that people can be sensible...I dont think they should try to ban more guns...however changing the loophole with guns shows i think would be a good idea, and enforcing the laws that already exist....we buy all of our guns at store where we HAVE to have a background check and it doesnt bother me, and if we want to sell one of guns we take it to the gun shop and pay him the $25 dollar fee, so whoever buys it WILL have to get a background check...but just putting my two sense in....I know their will be a lot of backlash...but thats what I get for posting on here I guess.

    January 10, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Canuck

    If it were fetuses that were in danger instead of walking, breathing kids no doubt Conservatives would be falling over themselves to stop this.

    January 10, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. v_mag

    Moose, this is a discussion about gun violence. Your post appears to blame the problem on child rearing practices, which is a ludicrous idea. For the record, I have 2 girls, both married, and they have a total of 6 children, all in school and doing very well. None of them was ever hit in anger, and never will be. I'm a progressive or liberal, whichever you prefer. That means I want us to move forward and not cling to an idealized past, like the Wild West. Having lived through the 50s and 60s, I know things weren't better in the old days.

    January 10, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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