Poll Finds Support For Stricter Gun Laws, Armed Police In Schools
A new poll found that 64 percent of Connecticut residents favor stricter gun laws, with 57 percent saying the Sandy Hook shooting made them more likely to back gun control measures.
The University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll released Wednesday found 50 percent of individuals outside the state of Connecticut support stricter gun laws, while 46 percent believe the current laws should remain unchanged.
Nationally, 48 percent support a ban on “military style assault weapons,” while in Connecticut support for such a measure is 60 percent.
Connecticut already has an assault weapon ban that has been on the books since 1994. The federal assault weapons ban, which included a ban on magazines with more than 10 bullets, expired in 2004.
Nationally, 53 percent strongly support or somewhat support a ban on high capacity magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, while 64 percent of the 500 Connecticut residents surveyed felt the same way.
An overwhelming number of individuals support a law that would require background checks before a gun is purchased. The poll found 84 percent strongly support or somewhat support the measure nationally. In Connecticut, that number goes up to 90 percent.
Asked if they supported stricter gun laws or armed guards in schools, the poll found that 43 percent preferred armed guards in schools while 42 percent supported stronger gun laws. In Connecticut, 45 percent supported stricter guns law over the 36 percent who support armed guards in schools.
In Connecticut, the poll found 56 percent support increased state spending on mental health screening and treatment as a “very effective” way to prevent mass shootings in schools. Meanwhile, nationwide about 42 percent believe that more mental health spending was a “very effective” way of dealing with these types of shootings. About 35 percent of people nationally believe decreasing gun violence in movies is a “very effective” way to prevent mass shootings, and in Connecticut that number is around 36 percent.
Although large numbers of Americans say strategies like restricting access to schools during class time and increasing police presence would likely be very effective in reducing violence, none of the proposed solutions —including changes to school buildings and arming teachers and other adults — won support from a majority.
The poll of Connecticut residents found that 51 percent think restricting public access to school buildings during the day would be very effective at reducing violence. Forty-two percent think increasing police presence at schools would be very effective. Thirty-six percent think making physical changes to school buildings, like bulletproof glass, would be very effective and 12 percent think arming teachers or other school officials would be very effective.
Nationally, 39 percent surveyed thought it would be very effective or somewhat effective to arm teachers. In Connecticut, that number drops to 27 percent. But when asked if the person in the school should be an armed police officer, those who think it would be very or somewhat effective jumps to 76 percent in Connecticut and 79 percent nationally.
“It’s striking that while Americans remain divided on the broader question of gun control, these specific proposals — all of which are part of President Obama’s recent set of executive orders on gun control — are finding favor with people,” UConn Poll Director Jennifer Necci Dineen said in a statement.
The national poll of 1,002 adults has a 3 percent margin of error. The Connecticut sample of 511 adults has a 4 percent margin of error. Both polls were conducted between Jan. 22 and Jan. 28.