Morning Read: Virginians Support Armed Police Officers In Schools

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Two-thirds of Virginians support assigning an armed police officer to every school, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll, which found that voters in the historically pro-gun Commonwealth fall on both sides of gun control.

While 66 percent of Virginians support armed guards in schools and 29 percent oppose it, 66 percent of voters said teachers should not be allowed to carry concealed weapons in school.

The survey comes in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting and the subsequent discussion of gun control at both the federal and state levels. Soon after the shooting, Gov. Bob McDonnell said on a radio show that there should be discussions of arming not just police officers, but other school officials in Virginia schools.

Virginia voters also support the one handgun-per-month law by a margin of 60 to 36 percent. Virginia had a law that prohibited people from buying more than one handgun per month on the books for two decades, but the GOP controlled-legislature repealed the measure last year.

Voters are also widely in favor (58-39 percent) of a national ban on assault weapons. And ninety-two percent of voters said they support requiring background checks on people who buy guns at gun shows. There is currently a loophole in Virginia law that allows unlicensed dealers to sell weapons at gun shows. In the state, only licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks, so many unlicensed dealers sell at gun shows without giving background checks.

Given that the legislature and governor are up for reelection, one interesting question asked to voters is whether they would vote for a candidate they agreed with on other issues, but disagreed with on gun control. Sixty-four percent of voters said they would still vote for the candidate, while 24 percent said they wouldn’t.

The polling data indicates that gun control is demographic; voters in rural areas are the least supportive of gun control while those in urban and suburban areas are most supportive.

If Virginia is truly a bellwether state, this poll shows that most people are in favor of stricter gun policies, but the issue doesn’t rank high on their list.


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