NEA Poll: Educators Support Stronger Laws to Prevent Gun Violence

Results of a new poll by the National Education Association (NEA) show educators support stronger gun laws to prevent gun violence and keep children safe.

The poll of the nation’s teachers, faculty and education support professionals comes one month after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adults, including educators. NEA polled 800 of its members nationwide during the period of January 9-10, 2013.

“The senseless tragedy in Newtown was a tipping point and galvanization for action,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “As educators, we have grieved too long and too often—for the children killed, their families and heroic educators. Now more than ever we need to do what is necessary, including enacting stronger laws to prevent gun violence, to make sure every child in our nation’s public schools has a safe and secure learning environment.”

Key Findings:

  • Educators overwhelmingly support stronger laws to prevent gun violence.  Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of NEA members polled feel gun laws in the U.S. should be made stricter, compared to 7 percent who believe they should be less strict.
  • NEA members polled support background checks and bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips.
    • 90 percent of NEA members favor a proposal to require background checks before people can buy guns at gun shows or from other private sellers, including 85 percent who strongly back this proposal.
    • 76 percent of NEA members support a proposal to ban the sale and possession of military-style semi-automatic assault weapons to everyone except the police and military, including 70 percent who strongly favor this proposal.
    • 69 percent of NEA members back a proposal to ban the sale and possession of high capacity magazine clips, which allow some guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before they need to be reloaded, including 64 percent who strongly support this proposal.
    • America’s educators resoundingly reject the notion of arming school employees.  Only 22 percent of NEA members polled favor a proposal to allow teachers and other school employees to receive firearms training and allow them to carry firearms in schools, while 68 percent oppose this proposal (including 61 percent who strongly oppose it.)
  • Tom Decent

    I would like to know where your survey was done. I am an educator and I have talked to many educators in my area and New York and NC. All of them agree that better gun control is needed however banning guns to the general public is not going to work. All it will accomplish is to give the “bad guys” more power over the average citizen. For the average citizen will not be able to defend himself against the “bad guy”. I’m a member of NEA and I never saw a survey being distributed among the educators. I didn’t get one and educators in at least three different states say they didn’t get one. I am offended when NEA comes out with a statement like this because it makes everyone think ALL NEA members think this way when they don’t. If you’re going to do a survey, do it right and be fair about it. Really 800 educators surveyed? From where?

  • Did this poll explain what an “assault” weapon is, or did it just use the term assuming everyone realizes that the definition is purely cosmetic?

  • Kathryn

    EDUCATORS feel this way? With all the empirical evidence showing this doesn’t help, they want tougher laws on law abiding citizens? Dear God, no wonder kids are growing up unable to read, write or reason!

    We need more mental health care. We need children to go to school without all the damned psychotropic drugs. If teachers can’t handle the kids straight, they should find another profession.

    Taking down the “Gun Free Zone” signs are a start – it just gives an evil person the idea it’s an easy target.

    AND spending some of that money that goes to schools to hire an off-duty cop or to train and arm some of the administration is a good idea.

    Please people, don’t scare those of us that have common sense by acting like you have none. I’m not thrilled with guns either, but singing “Kumbaya” and hoping it doesn’t happen doesn’t work. Criminals don’t pay attention to laws anyway, and will get their arsenal on the black market. USE YOUR HEADS!!!

    No wonder our schools are getting worse and worse.

  • Elizabeth Wetherholt


  • Mdawwg in ct

    What poll? No one called me. They probably polled the same people they polled when they endorsed all liberal democrats and only 1 republican. The NEA is in this for themselves. They steal our money and do as they please. How much money is going to come in for this “anti gun” poll? Lots of grants from King Barak I bet. The poll and the NEA are a joke. Too bad this will never make it online.

  • Riley

    Hey Elizabeth, so the next time a Newtown happens and it will, because crazy’s and criminals are not going to turn their “tools of trade” you want everyone to be as defenseless as before. Why does King Barak have armed people around him? He doesn’t want to be harmed. Stick your head further into the sand maybe you’ll find a clue. It’s thinking like yours that’s allowed these mass shootings to happen in the first place. Had some faculty/staff had been armed they may not have stopped the shooting but I’m sure the body count would have been lower. You libs keep “saying” the same thing over and over and over “more gun control” and get no results. Are you really that dumb? Oh, one last thing “gun free” means “come shoot everybody be cause nobody is armed here” to a deranged person. The least you could do is take down the signs and make it a little harder for the crazy’s to find targets. End of rant.

  • RCH

    What survey? I wasn’t surveyed! Educators? I’m an educator and I don’t support YOUR “Stronger Gun Laws to Prevent Gun Violence”! I didn’t support President Obama either. I a female. I don’t own a gun and I don’t want a gun! I just can’t stand any more of your “Educators support…” that I don’t support! I won’t be renewing my membership in the NEA and I’m starting to hear other teachers, those I encouraged to join, say the same thing. I DO NOT LIKE YOUR BLANKET STATEMENTS! I do not like them here or there. I don’t like them anywhere!

  • Bandboss

    Had the principal and teachers who tried to face down the Sandy Hook jerk (I won’t even dignify him by mentioning his name) had guns rather than a concerned look and soothing words to deal with him, the outcome would probably have been much different. A few well-trained, unidentified gun-bearing teachers, rather than “gun-free zones”, in every school might make these monsters think harder about shooting up a school.
    By the way, I also never was given the opportunity to participate in the poll of teachers regarding gun control. In fact, I seldom (make that “never”) agree with the NEA poll results of “educators”. Were it not for the fact that I’m required to be a member if I want to keep teaching, I would have quit this left-wing bunch years ago.

  • Ben Dover

    I was in the classroom for over 30 years. We had at least five guys in our building that would have been willing to take specialized training and carry concealed at school. Maybe we should ban baseball bats and cars too. They are other inanimate objects that kill.
    Thank you, liberal NEA. Keep that money flowing to Barry S.

  • Selmer Haugen

    As a proud elementary school teacher, I am amazed at how often our NEA gets involved in issues that are more related to where our leadership votes than how it is actually involved. I read in an issue this fall in our Minnesota Educator magazine how we should vote on the Voter ID Amendment and the Marriage Definition Amendment. In both cases, these amendments had as much to do with our direct classroom instruction as logging restrictions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Not surprisingly, they both had left-leaning reasons.

    In the issue of gun regulations, the NEA has no place. If the concern is gun violence in schools, then the NEA should post and poll its members about everything that makes up gun violence. Instead of focusing on the means for carrying out an assault, focus on violence in general? Focus on gang activity, focus on bringing more males into the classrooms, focus on video games, movies, music. But no, the union leadership follows the President’s opinions carte blanche and blindly believes that his proposals will make our schools safer, despite a great number of research to the contrary.

    As a first grade teacher, the Connecticut shooting most certainly broke my heart. And yes, I want to do everything I can to make our schools safer. But quite frankly, the ways we can do this are doing what we can to improve our culture locally. A clip from 30 to 10 is not going to make a bit of difference, changing the grip on a handgun will not deter a sick-minded individual hell-bent on killing, and yet the NEA seems to step into a debate it really doesn’t belong to get onboard the President’s vision. Obviously, because it supports a then-candidate who can’t even attend their own convention.

    I would hope the NEA would have enough educated members to know the place it belongs. Does the NEA get involved in the traffic highway safety industry? Because, after all, approximately 2,000 children die on the roads every year in America. Should the NEA endorse dropping the speed limits down across the board 25%? Does the NEA get involved in the Department of Natural Resources? Because after all deaths by deer, venomous, poisonous, and predatory animals kill hundreds of people every year–those are moms and dads of our children. Should the NEA endorse fences around our roads, anti-venom kits in every community, etc?

    NEA, I kindly ask, know your place.

  • Deanna Maynard

    Well said, Selmer! The NEA needs to focus on education and educators. These political kiss-#~* surveys that have never included any educator I know are not representative of what our membership dues are meant to include. This needs to stop.

  • NBJ

    I’m a dues-paying NEA member and I don’t support the position of my union on this issue. We as a nation routinely provide armed security for banks, airports, courts, parades, concerts, etc. We protect what we think is important, but we don’t want to provide armed security for little children attending school?

    Yes, in a perfect world, we might be able to confiscate all guns and keep them from ever entering our country from outside sources and from threatening our children in schools. Good luck with that. The federal government has been fighting a war against illegal drugs for 50+ years, and what have we got to show for it? Widespread drug trade, chaos in Mexico, etc. Federal prohibition against alcohol nearly a century ago didn’t work very well, either.

    I would welcome the presence of armed security at all public schools. I think that it would send a message, that we value the safety of our children very much and that we are willing to contribute our resources to protect them.

  • Alan

    I do NOT support more gun control and you, NEA, do not speak for me in this matter! No member that I know was polled in this and would all have spoken against joining the fight against guns. Consider this the last straw and my resignation from the NEA…

  • louise

    I support these policies. The majority of people polled in this country support these policies. I’m a teacher. I don’t want guns in my school. It sends the wrong message to kids: You have to have a gun to be safe. Nonsense. Anyone seen those videos in which people shoot guns by mistake and scare themselves silly? If guns were correlated with the safety, then the USA would be the safest place in the world. I would appreciate, also, that people would be civil in their responses and not resort to name calling. Why is it discussions about guns so often sink to name-calling and disparaging comments about anyone who dares to question the need for more guns in our country? If those the most convincing arguments people have, those people will never convince me of the need for more guns and easier access to guns.

  • Klara Alex

    Bravo NEA,

    I am also an educator and FULLY SUPPORT GUN CONTROL POLICIES. Our kids do not have the right to vote but their parents and teachers do, and we should exercise it to ensure that less and less of them ever have to meet a shooter in their school, mall or house. This is absolutely the issue that we have to be discussing and the debates that we have to having now. I for one ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO HAVE to carry a gun and become a schooter in training instead of a teacher in excellence.

  • Gary

    I am angry at my union for coming to the wrong side of this debate. We should be curious educators who study issues before making knee jerk responses that turn into NEA policy.

    Here is JUST ONE educational fact: “military style” weapons are just that…”style”. What are the “reforms” that “get rid” of “assault weapons”? In New York [where there is now a ban on general purpose rifles], an “assault weapon” is defined as having MORE THAN ONE of the following cosmetic features. Ready? I warn you….you’re not going to believe it but it’s true.

    The general purpose rifles that are being banned are rifles with magazines that have MORE THAN ONE of the following features:
    1] A flash supressor. This is a piece of metal at the end of the rifle’s barrel to dull the “flash” of gasses and matter [propellant] as they leave the barrel.

    2] A bayonet lug. Really? Yes! Nobody uses bayonet. But some people think it looks cool to have a lug on their rifle…for whatever reason.

    3] An indentation where a GRENADE LAUNCHER can be attached to the rifle. What? No…you can’t own or get a grenade [or, as far as I know, a launcher].

    4] A pistol grip. An ergonomic feature of the modern rifle is that one doesn’t need to contort one’s body to get into a firing stance with the rifle. This is achieved by having a pistol grip extending perpendicular to the rifle and right behind the trigger. The trigger hand can then grasp the weapon as easily as it can a pistol.

    5] A telescoping butt. This is another ergonomic feature of the modern rifle. With a telescoping butt, you can adjust the distance of the trigger from your body to fit your personal dimensions.

    That’s it. None of these features effect the central function of the rifle in the slightest. Some of these are features that people think are cool. Others are features to make the rifle a bit more user friendly.

    If you don’t believe me, look up the New York law. The Feinstein gun ban…when it refers to itself as an “assault weapons ban”…is referring to exactly the same type of features.

    FYI, I do own pistols. I do not own a rifle. Why? They’re just way too noisy for me. I don’t like standing in the rifle section of the range. It is SOOO LOUD! Now, when “silencers” [which reduce the noise by about 20 dB] become legal, I’ll take another look.

    All the best to you.

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  • Debbie

    I am tired of the obsession with gun ownership. I want no guns, just like I want no pot, heroine, coke, or pornography in my immediate life. I’d love to understand why gun advocates feel that it is punishing them to ask them to register their weapons and to be licensed owners. They need to be licensed to own a car. In the district where I live several gun deaths have occurred, so as reactionary homicides, some as domestic abuse, some as suicides, and some as accidental deaths by students playing with guns owned by responsible “good parents”. Horrible as it sounds, the gun owner should be responsible for the deaths caused by their loaded, unsecured weapons. I am annoyed by the vigilantes who could easily kill innocent bystander, esp children when firing a weapon. No one “needs” a weapon that can kill multiple human beings in seconds. Why do we think that even trained soldiers have PTSD?

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  • Anne

    In regards to the final point of the article: Has anyone discussed the idea of arming teachers with things like tear gas…and teaching us how to use it? Obviously, a lot of teachers should NOT have a gun, but if we make a mistake with tear gas, we wouldn’t be killing anyone, and it could slow down a killer long enough for people to overpower him.

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  • On April 17th, 45 U.S. Senators voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment thus killing S. 669, the background check for gun purchase legislation. This was in direct opposition to the wishes of the American people who were 91% in favor of this bill. Those senators violated our trust and do not deserve to not be re-elected. If you agree visit the “We Will Not Forget” website at .

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  • Lightengine

    Fear of the unknown naturally causes some reservation but couple this with an acute fear of firearms (hoplophobia) and the irrational logic that enabled Sandy Hook will prevail. Gun free school zones filter out and incapacitate those with good intentions but are incapable of stopping those with bad intentions. With over nine million concealed carry licenses in this country, about one in twenty five adults is now licensed to carry and this includes a whole lot of teachers and administrators. Small pocket holstered handguns with laser grips are virtually undetectable. Contrary to erroneous opinions, it would not be difficult to use a small easily concealable firearm with laser grips to blow the demented brains out of an Adam Lanza. With training in conflict resolution, defensive tactics, psychological aftermath preparation, situational awareness, down range awareness, targeting proficiency with a laser, and regular practice, selected and qualified teachers and administrators will provide an effective deterrence to prevent or terminate mass shootings in our schools.

  • Lightengine

    The Fort Hood and Washington Naval Yard shootings revealed that even “gun free” military installations have insufficient security to protect the defenseless. The Naval Yard shooting also revealed that television networks have a real problem with the truth at times. The networks first reported that an “assault weapon” had been brought to the Naval Yard. The shooter, Aaron Alexis, used a pump action shotgun and may have actually heeded the advice of our Vice-President. His mental condition had been deteriorating for some time and yet he managed to pass a NICS check for the purchase of a shotgun. This revealed that 100% NICS checks would not have made any difference and it is impossible to identify all individuals who can become homicidal before they are homicidal.

    Yet I hear rumblings that the Senate may soon resurrect S.649 Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. Since there is a very high probability that you may have never actually read this proposed “common sense” legislation that you say is supported by 90% of the population, here is a link to the website so that you can read it now.

    ?This defective legislation would not be capable of reducing violent crime and is really the last logical step before attempting to justify firearm registration. The devil is in the details. S.649 depends upon the false premise that everyone will follow the law today to avoid onerous punishment tomorrow. In reality, this bill has no mechanism to be effective in preventing firearm transfers to the truly dangerous.

    It does nothing to address the feral black male “gangsta” subculture where less than 3% of the population inflicts about 50% of all murders in this country on the 13.6% of the population that is black. Most of these annual 5,000 “low profile” murders every year are the result of arguments and not drugs or gangs. The black murder rate with or without guns is 6.4 times higher than the non-black murder rate. Our urban black communities are being terrorized by a violent feral “gangsta” culture that is intolerant of any disrespect. Any acknowledgement of the true nature of this ongoing tragedy by the Democrat media and Democrat politicians is prevented by their fear of reactionary black racism and nauseating political correctness. They prefer to blame guns in support of their goal of civilian disarmament. If the black murder rate equaled the non-black murder rate we could save about 4,000 black lives every year. And yet breaking the feral cycle of this violent “gangsta” culture is not a priority of a Democratic Party that purports to represent blacks.

    I received e-mails from Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz stating the Democratic Party position of supporting the President in his effort to enact “common sense” gun laws to reduce gun violence in this country. This is despite the fact that gun violence has been decreasing significantly since 1992 simultaneously with the increase in concealed carry, more civilian firearms, and longer prison terms. Concealed carry is never given any credit by the media because it goes against an obvious Democrat agenda of civilian disarmament. None of the “common sense” gun laws that Debbie, or the President wants, or those that have been enacted by urban Democrats in Colorado, New York, Connecticut, or Maryland would have prevented the slaughter at Sandy Hook. Magazine capacity limitations on semi-automatic weapons does not protect the absolutely defenseless. Most semi-automatic ARmalite or AK style rifles are not high power rifles and handguns are just as fast and lethal. But, in reality, all of this is irrelevant because school safety is not the real objective of S.649 or for the recent opportunistic Democrat State bans on semi-automatic rifles and magazines.

    “Common sense” is a dangerous fictional concept called upon mostly by obtuse Democrats without due diligence to demean opposing opinions. Like Prohibition and Gun Control, it often results in simplistic solutions with disastrous unintended consequences. So…. until the murderous cycle of feral black males is acknowledged and condemned by Democrats and in homage to Jonathan Swift, here is my “common sense” “Modest Proposal” in answer to S.649.

    “Common sense” truly dictates that if the majority of Democrats do not want civilian ownership of firearms and most blacks are Democrats, we would save a lot of lives by enacting “common sense” gun laws that would absolutely prohibit the possession of firearms by all Democrats. And it would also be “common sense” that they should all be very happy about being granted such a special prohibition. Obviously, implementation of this ”common sense” “modest proposal” would be about as ineffective as S.649 but it would contain a whole lot more justice and it would make me feel a whole lot better.