Personal Finance

73 percent of teachers oppose guns in schools, Gallup finds

Key Points
  • More than half of teachers believe bringing guns into school would mean more risk, according to a new survey.
  • 18 percent of teachers are willing to be armed.
Pomona High School social studies teacher Dale Munholland poses for a portrait before teaching an American history class at Pomona High School on Friday, February 23, 2018. Munholland, who has 20-plus years of teaching experience, said that teachers are there to take care of the kids, but shouldn't be expected to engage an active shooter.
Aaron Ontiveroz | The Denver Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump has proposed arming teachers as a response to the Parkland shooting in Florida.

Researchers have asked teachers: What do you think?

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. educators said they oppose the idea of arming teachers and staff in school buildings, according to a Gallup survey in March of 497 adults who teach students from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

More than 80 percent said they would not train to be able to wield a firearm if their school presented the option to do so.

The unpopularity of the idea of arming teachers among teachers themselves suggests that lawmakers who support the idea will face difficulty implementing it, even if such policies came to pass.

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"Nobody can force teachers to carry guns," said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, a global research firm. "Teachers would have to agree."

More than half of teachers say arming staff members would make schools more dangerous. Just this week, a California teacher's gun accidentally went off in class and three students were injured.

However, 20 percent of teachers support the idea of arming staff members and 18 percent would undergo special training to carry a firearm at school.

"They tend to be teachers in rural areas who already own guns," Newport said.

Teachers who feel they'll be able to protect their students with a firearm should be given the chance to, said Dave Workman, of the Second Amendment Foundation.

"In the event of some tragedy like we saw in Florida, they want to jump between the bad guy and the good kids," Workman said.

Americans' interest in gun control isn't going away

A number of factors help explain why bringing guns into schools is so disliked by teachers, Newport said.

For one, nearly 70 percent of Americans don't own a firearm.

Another is that three-quarters of K-to-12 teachers are women. While 39 percent of men own a firearm, just 22 percent of women do.

If proposals to arm teachers come to fruition, they're likely to be enacted very differently across the country, Newport said.

"You'd see more teachers volunteering to hold guns where guns are already part of the way of life," he said.