A new survey from Pew finds that, by a 2-1 margin, Americans support putting armed guards in the nation’s schools. 64% support the proposal, first floated by the NRA, against just 32% who oppose it. Even this proposal, though, has a partisan tinge to it. 62% of Democrats support the idea, but Independents are slightly less favorable, at just 59% support. 73% of Republicans, however, support the policy.
The survey was conducted Jan 9-13 and is based on interviews with 1,502 adults. The only other proposals to register more than 60% support were: background checks at gun shows (85%), prohibiting people with mental illness from purchasing a gun (80%), and a federal database to track gun sales (67%). It is worth noting that, of these policies, only armed guards in schools would have prevented the Newtown tragedy.
While the findings suggest strong support for some new gun legislation, there is a stark difference in the intensity of support. Those who view protecting gun rights as the most important part of the debate are far more politically engaged than those who favor control.
There is a wide gap between those who prioritize gun rights and gun control when it comes to political involvement. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those who say gun rights should be the priority have contributed money to an organization that takes a position on gun policy, compared with just 5% of those who prioritize gun control. People who favor gun rights are also about twice as likely as gun control supporters to have contacted a public official about gun policy (15% vs. 8%).
Supporters of gun rights vote on the issue. For most supporters of gun control, it is simply one of many issues on which they base their vote. That simple fact is the chief reason gun control activists have been unsuccessful to date. It will likely again prevent them from exploiting the tragic CT shooting to enact their sweeping control agenda.