A majority of registered voters in Pennsylvania rejects the controversial proposal of arming teachers in schools, according to a new poll released today by the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics.
Further, with President Barack Obama expected to address gun violence in tomorrow’s State of the Union address, the poll found that many Pennsylvanians support proposals advanced by his administration, among them improving mental health screening, requiring background checks for all gun sales and increasing the presence of police officers and armed security guards.
MCAP polled 485 (MOE +/-4.5) registered voters across the state Jan. 30-Feb. 6 to ascertain Pennsylvania voters’ opinions on proposals being discussed by the administration, members of Congress and state legislators across the nation.
The proposal to allow teachers trained in the use of firearms to carry guns in classrooms was rejected by a majority – 56 percent – of Pennsylvanians. The opposition comes largely from individuals who say that neither they nor a member of their household owns a gun. Still, among individuals living in a household where a gun is present, a slim majority of 51 percent favors the proposal.
Pennsylvanians say that nearly all of the proposals currently being debated would help prevent mass shootings in public places, but some are viewed as more effective than others. Majorities say banning large capacity of ammunition magazines or military-style assault rifles would help prevent mass shootings, while large majorities say that improving mental health screening, requiring background checks for all people buying a gun and increasing the presence of armed police officers or security guards would be more effective deterrents. A large majority also says that depictions of violence in popular culture and video games contribute to mass shootings.
Not surprisingly, individuals who say that either they or someone in their household owns a gun are less likely to say that gun control measures will prevent mass shootings. Both those who own guns and those who do not agree, however, that requiring background checks on all people buying a gun would be helpful in preventing shootings.