Majority of readers against teachers carrying firearms at school, survey says
Graphic by Christina Scotti
BY ERIKA NORTON In light of the latest deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, one way government officials and President Donald Trump have suggested to try to make schools safer is to arm teachers. According to a recent reader survey, a majority of Township Journal readers who took the survey are not in favor of allowing teachers to carry firearms at school. Out of the total 467 survey-takers, 65 percent said they are not in favor of allowing teachers to carry firearms at school. The other 35 percent said they are in favor of teachers to carrying firearms at school. Readers of The Township Journal, as well as the other Straus Newspapers, the parent company of The Township Journal, also took the survey. These papers cover parts of Sussex County, West Milford in Passaic County, parts of Orange County, N.Y. and Pike County, Pa. When just looking at Township Journal readers, 60 percent said they are not in favor of teachers carrying firearms and 40 percent said they are in favor. Those who took the survey were also asked if they were a teacher or a school staff member. A large majority, 84 percent, said they were not a teacher or a school staff member. Out of those who did say they were a teacher or a school staff member, 76 percent said they were not in favor of arming teachers at school, an even larger majority than when looking at all survey participants as a whole. Also of note, a majority of the survey participants were female, with 59 percent. A larger majority, 66 percent, were 56 years old and over. Twenty-nine percent were between ages 36 and 55, and the other five percent were 35 years old and under. LegislationCurrently, in New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it is illegal to carry a firearm onto school grounds unless you are a sworn police officer. But on other parts of the country, at least 12 states allow school staff members to possess or have access to a firearm on school grounds, according to an analysis by the Education Commission of the States. These states include Kansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wyoming, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Ohio, Utah, Idaho, and now Florida. In response to the Parkland shooting, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a state law on March 9 that allows teachers to arm themselves at school. Some of these laws require a certain amount of training before the teacher can carry at school.