In overwhelming numbers, Connecticut teachers favor stronger gun restrictions and do not want to see educators carrying guns in schools, according to a survey by the state’s largest teachers union.
The Connecticut Education Association released a poll of 400 teachers Monday, which found striking uniformity among teachers regarding gun control. The survey comes as the legislature considers gun restrictions and school safety in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
While some have suggested schools would be safer if teachers and school administrators were permitted to carry weapons, CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said that only 3 percent of the educators sampled favored such a proposal. Eighty-five percent opposed it.
“We’re just very, very heartened by the fact that teachers do not want their schools turned into fortresses. They want to be able to have the ability to teach, free of any potential violence within their building,” he said.
Meanwhile nearly all the teachers surveyed, or 98 percent, favored extending criminal and mental health background checks for all gun purchases. There was also strong support — 88 percent — for banning the sale or possession of military-style rifles. Eighty-seven percent supported banning high capacity ammunition magazines.
Waxenberg said the results changed relatively little among teachers who were either gun owners, residents who kept guns in their homes, knew hunters, or were hunters themselves. Among that group, more than three quarters still favored stronger gun restrictions. Waxenberg said 18 percent of the teachers surveyed kept guns in their homes.
Waxenberg said CEA was surprised by the strong numbers the survey found.
“Quite clearly, the message of the teachers of the state of Connecticut is to do what’s necessary to get these assault-style weapons outside the arsenal of weapons available to the people of Connecticut,” he said.
The poll was conducted between Jan. 19-20 and has a margin of error of 4.9 points. CEA released the results of the poll on the same day the legislature held a public hearing regarding gun restrictions.