In overwhelming numbers, Connecticut teachers support tougher gun laws and additional funding to modernize school facilities to provide safe and secure public schools, according to the first poll of Connecticut teachers conducted on gun laws and school safety, released today by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA).
“This is the first time teachers have been asked for their opinion in a comprehensive manner that is representative of educators’ views across Connecticut,” said CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg. “We want legislators to establish new and strengthened laws that protect the overall safety of children, schools, and our communities—including commonsense gun laws and funding to address safety issues in public schools,” he added.
At a news conference held today at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Waxenberg continued, “We are encouraged by the response to address the practical and systemic issues raised by the senseless massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We are hopeful that legislators will listen to teachers and pass legislation that will help prevent this type of tragedy from ever happening again.”
The CEA survey findings show teachers overall support stronger gun safety laws and specific proposals to make communities safer:
- Almost all teachers surveyed (98 percent) favor extending criminal and mental health background checks for all gun purchases.
- A large majority (88 percent) support banning the sale and possession of military-style semi-automatic assault weapons to everyone except the police and military.
- Eighty-seven percent of teachers surveyed also support banning the sale and possession of high-capacity magazine clips.
- A strong majority (85 percent) oppose any proposals allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.
- Nine out of ten members (92 percent) believe the state should provide funding to local public school districts to modernize facilities to address today’s school safety issues.
When the numbers for all members are compared to members who are most familiar with guns, there is little to no change. Key findings for members who are gun owners, have guns in their home, are hunters, or are related to hunters:
- More than three-quarters (77 percent) support stronger gun safety laws.
- Almost all (98 percent) favor extending background checks.
- Eight out of ten (83 percent) favor banning high-capacity magazine clips.
- Seventy-eight percent favor banning the sale and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons.
- More than three-quarters (77 percent) are against plans to arm teachers.
CEA Vice President Jeff Leake joined Waxenberg at the news conference. Leake was at the inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. this month, and he summed up what he heard. “The Newtown tragedy was prominent and on the minds of everyone I spoke with in Washington. The horrific shooting that took the lives of 20 innocent children and six educators has galvanized the country, and we strongly urge legislators, especially here in Connecticut, to act now to do all they can to keep our schools safe sanctuaries for learning.”
The poll of 400 CEA teacher members statewide was conducted January 19-21, 2013, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.