Poll: Virginians Favor Armed Guards & Gun Control

photoVirginia voters come down on both sides of the gun control issues as they support 66 – 29 percent placing an armed police officer in every school, while they also support 60 – 36 percent limiting gun purchases to one per month, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

By an overwhelming 92 – 7 percent, Virginia voters support background checks for people who buy guns at gun shows, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. But 50 percent say gun ownership helps protect people from crime, while 41 percent say it puts people at risk.

Gun control laws in Virginia should be more strict, 49 percent of registered voters say, while 6 percent say less strict and 42 percent feel laws should remain the same. That compares to an August poll in which 44 percent of voters wanted stricter laws, while 44 percent wanted laws to remain the same, with 9 percent saying laws should be less strict.

“Virginians, by a slight margin, are in favor of more gun control, but they don’t seem to fit nicely into either camp in the gun debate following the Newtown school massacre,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “There has been a small increase in the number favoring tougher gun control, but it is not large. Moreover, the idea of stationing armed police in public schools, which many nationally have ridiculed, is favored by two out of three Virginians.”

Geographic issue

“The data indicates that gun control is the ultimate geographic issue. Voters in rural areas are the least supportive of gun control while suburbanites and city residents are more likely to favor it,” said Brown.

On the basic gun control question, 61 percent of urban residents, 49 percent of suburban residents and 40 percent of rural residents think the laws should be stricter.

Virginia voter opinion on a variety of gun-related issues is:

58 – 39 percent support for a national ban on assault weapons;
59 – 37 percent support for banning high capacity ammunition magazines;
62 – 27 percent that allowing people to own assault weapons makes the country more dangerous;
64 – 24 percent that if they agreed with a political candidate on other issues, but not on the issue of guns, they could still vote for that candidate;
66 – 31 percent oppose allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom;
59 – 33 percent that the National Rifle Assn. is more concerned with protecting gun-owners’ rights than in protecting gun-makers’ profits.

Looking for the most effective way to prevent mass shootings at schools:
29 percent say increase government spending on mental health;
27 percent say increase police presence at schools;
24 percent say ban assault weapons;
16 percent say reduce gun violence on television, in movies and video games.

Other topics

Virginia voters approve 52 – 44 percent of the job President Obama is doing, unchanged from a November 14 Quinnipiac University poll. By a similar 52 – 44 percent margin, voters say the president showed leadership during the fiscal negotiations and by a 50 – 21 percent margin, voters say Obama did a better job in the negotiations than Republicans in Congress.

Change the military to reduce federal spending, 45 percent of Virginia voters say, with 20 percent calling for changes in Medicare and 15 percent looking to reform Social Security.

From January 4 – 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,134 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.


About the Author

Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.