Poll: Virginia voters favor armed guards in schools
January 10th, 2013
09:38 AM ET
7 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. kurtinco

    Putting armed guards in school will guarantee only one thing: that would-be gunmen will know who to kill first. Arming our schools is not the answer.

    January 10, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. Ferret out the BS

    Assigining Officers to schools is one of many answers and it's a start. The schools in my community used to have more officers assigned to the district schools but unfortunately due to economics this was eliminated last year. The officers are now spread few and far between. Fortunately they are also supported by city police but having police around won't stop an incident from a determined individual.

    One of our schools did have an incident where a gun was used by an adult that came on campus a couple of years ago. Fortunately there were brave private citizens that tackled the man and stopped what could've been a disaster. There were roving officers assigned to the school system.

    But one solution is not the complete answer. There needs to be comprehensive laws and restrictions that prosecuters, police, and judges can use to put these people away as well as limit the weapons they have access to. No solution is perfect but several solutions help and are necessary.

    January 10, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Feliz

    One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.

    January 10, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. dreamer96

    Armed guards are a band aid for a bigger problem...The guards are not everywhere people and children are..If we use guards at the school...what about the playgrounds, the parks, the hospitals, the malls, the concert halls, the restaurants, the passenger ships, the trains, subways..The problem is we have to put armed guards everywhere..or we need better gun control...

    January 10, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Canuck

    " we like our AR-15, its fun to target shoot with it, and it looks badass, I really wish poeple would be reasonable"

    Your definition of 'reasonable' is clearly different to mine. What is it with you gun nuts???

    January 10, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Mommy

    Ferret out the BS...I agree with you, everyone needs to work on this together from all sides...ONE bad will not stop this...there are so many other things that need to be done...putting my beliefs aside, everyone's number one concern should be the welfare of the children, my prayers go out to Sandy Hook, bc I honestly can't imagine the pain and suffering....BUT instead of using emotions lets use commen sense, I may be being unrealistic but is it so bad that I just want and hope poeple can come together on something like this? This should NOT be a time for fighting.

    January 10, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. investigate

    If you review many of these cases, you will see a common theme among the gunmen is suicide at the first sign of emergency response. Not all cases, but most. These people are not warriors or combatants, they are cowards. These cowards are raised by cowards who hide the knives when their kids takes fits, but never take control of their child. Liberal ideology is neutering America, and the government and celebrities who have protection will take ours away in a knee jerk if we let them.

    January 10, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. GuestAgain

    States should craft there own plan, Oblabla doesnt need to pass irresponsible executive orders.

    January 10, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Logic N LA

    There is no way assure that the guards won't be the ones to use the guns. The mental stability is not checked before someone is allowed to become a security guard. Like they say about birth control – if abstinanse is the only true form then no guns is the only way to insure no shootingsi

    January 10, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. Boo

    investigate – beg to differ.....gun owners (unless they hunt) ARE COWARDS and most of them are men who feel they must compensate for what is lacking in other parts of their manhood.....if you get my meaning.

    January 10, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    They do? Then raise their taxes to pay for it. They shall get no federal dollars to do such a thing. If parents want their kids educated in armed bunkers, then there are two options available: home schooling; private schooling. Take your pick. Don't raise my taxes to satisfy your paranoid delusions while endangering my child, to boot.

    January 10, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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