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Pennsylvania

Poll: To prevent gun violence in schools, use police, don't arm teachers

| Monday, March 26, 2018, 5:24 p.m.
Ligonier Borough Police Chief John Berger touches a portion of more than 60 confiscated guns on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 in his office.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Ligonier Borough Police Chief John Berger touches a portion of more than 60 confiscated guns on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 in his office.

Pennsylvanians favor posting armed police officers in schools over training and arming teachers, according to a new poll from Harrisburg-based Susquehanna Polling and Research.

Among 700 registered voters, 72 percent said posting police in schools could prevent future mass shootings, according to the poll results, while just 27 percent said training teachers and school employees.

The poll, released Monday, comes after a weekend in which high school students participated in Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and around the country in the “March for Our Lives” protest, a response to the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and other shootings.

The Trump Administration suggested arming teachers as a solution to gun violence following the Parkland shooting.

In a more general question about the best approach to preventing mass shootings, 37 percent said they support stricter gun control laws. About 20 percent favored improving intelligence-gathering among law enforcement agencies, while 16 percent picked “more training and arming of regular citizens so people can defend themselves.”

Those polled also favored installing metal detectors and increasing the age limit to buy semi-automatic weapons as methods to prevent mass shootings. They didn't support banning backpacks.

In a question about political party, 49 percent of respondents said they were Democrats while 40 percent said they were Republicans.

“This poll confirms that even in Pennsylvania, a state known for its avid sportsmen and robust NRA membership, support for gun control is on the rise,” Jim Lee, the polling company's CEO, said in a news release.

Lee suggested migration to Pennsylvania of people from states such as Delaware, New Jersey and New York could be contributing to support in the state for the proposals.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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