UPDATED: Surveys on Teachers and Staff Carrying Guns show surprising support

Apr 8, 2018 | Survey

With teachers and staff carrying concealed handguns in certain school districts within 18 states, much of the country has gotten used to the idea.  In the aftermath of the Florida high school shooting, a couple of surveys have been done on Americans’ views on arming teachers.  While a Rasmussen Reports poll shows that people oppose giving teachers incentives to carry by a 48% to 43% margin, there is actually strong support among those adults who presumably care most about the issue — parents with school-age children.  59% support of these parents support schools giving incentives to teachers who carry concealed handguns.

A recent CBS News Poll from the end of February 2018 showed that opinions were pretty closely divided, with 44% supporting teacher-carry and 50% opposing it.  Liberal Greg Sargent at the Washington Post reacted to this survey with the headline: “A frighteningly large number of Americans support arming teachers.”  The Rasmussen and CBS polls ask slightly different questions: asking whether they support incentives for teachers to carry or having teachers carry.  But given how similar the overall responses are and that they gave these two surveys at the same time, it seems likely that those taking the surveys interpreted the questions the same way.

Teachers, on the other hand, are opposed to the idea by a fairly large, 3.5-to-1 margin.  That survey was also done after the Florida high school shooting.  Given how people’s views on guns mirror their general political views, these results should not be very surprising.  Teachers tend to be very liberal, while parents of school-age children tend to be relatively conservative.

The recent Rasmussen and CBS News polls appear to show that the margin of opposition is narrowing.  Last April, a Pew Research Center survey found a wider 55% to 45% margin — about twice the margin of the more recent polls.

Police have been much more supportive of letting teachers carry.  PoliceOne surveyed its 450,000 members and found that 77% support arming teachers and school administrators. 86% of officers responded that abolishing gun-free zones, such as the one at Newtown, would reduce or possibly even eliminate casualties from school shootings.

UPDATED: Rasmussen released a new survey on December 24, 2018, and found support by parents with kids for armed teachers had declined but was still preferred by more parents (it was conducted on December 18th and 19th, 2018).

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of American Adults with children of elementary or secondary school age favor a proposal to have trained teachers with guns in the schools. Forty percent (40%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided. However, support is down from 59% just after the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School . . . .

The survey question was: “A proposal has been made to give bonuses to teachers who are specially trained to have guns in schools to protect themselves and others. Do you favor or oppose a proposal to have trained teachers with guns in the schools?”



  1. BostonTea

    Yet another set of examples where many survey questions are too vague. Instead of asking simply “Do you support arming teachers?” the should have asked “Do you support the idea of allowing vetted, trained and licensed teachers to carry guns in schools voluntarily?”

  2. Ray Martinez

    Our Schools have become Targets and Our Children’s Unprotected Lives are in Danger..We have to have an Inhouse Rapid Response Team at each Campus..Our Classrooms and Admin Offices need to be Reinforced so those affected can Shelter in Place and be Protected until the attacker can be subdued..Our Awareness to any Threats and Bullying need to be aggressively addressed. Push for the required legislation and or Ordinances to allow this to happen..

  3. billc

    Yes….the vague question trick in order to support anti gun laws. The same one is used when they ask people about universal background checks. They never ask the people they question if they know anything about current federal background checks, or that the actual goal for pushing universal background checks is so that anti gunners can come back and demand universal gun registration….or if they would be willing to pay more to sell their guns…..or if they realize that mass shooters can already pass federal background checks, which means they will pass any background check on a private sale. Or if they know that criminals use straw buyers to buy their guns, which means the straw buyer can pass current background checks which means they will pass any universal background check too……these polls that lie to the subject need to be confronted and exposed.

    • BostonTea


      “.the vague question trick in order to support anti gun laws. The same one is used when they ask people about universal background checks.”

      100% agree.

      You can ask: “Do you favor creating a federal government database to track all gun sales?” In the last PEW poll 54% of gun owners said “Yes”.

      Now try this question: “Do you want the federal government to know the name and the address of every gun owner in America, as well as the exact number of firearms he or she legally keeps in the house?”

      I guarantee you a completely different distribution of responses in the survey.

      How information is presented matters a lot. So, for example, most people when queried are for “stronger”/”tougher” gun laws but against “stricter” gun laws, and it’s not clear what is the difference. Many people usually define strong laws to be those that are effectively enforced (and hence by necessity also enforceable), and strict laws as putting unusually tight limits on behavior.