Does Texas Want Their Teachers Armed?

A survey of 961 Texas voters last month found a majority support arming teachers and security guards in public schools.

Five in 10 survey respondents with children under 18 in public schools support arming teachers, while 87 percent favor arming security guards, according to Quinnipiac.

The survey found Texas voters divided 49 percent to 45 percent in favor of stricter gun laws, just weeks after the state’s deadliest school shooting in more than 50 years. Nine in 10 respondents supported universal background checks, 64 percent favored safe storage laws and 50 percent agreed with a nationwide “assault weapons ban.”

“The tragedy at the Santa Fe school south of Houston changed few opinions among Texas voters about gun control,” said Peter A. Brown, Quinnipiac’s assistant director. “Support for gun control in general is down slightly, while support for background checks for all gun buyers is virtually unchanged.”

Lawmakers converged at the state capitol Monday to discuss ways to make schools safer before reopening in August, according to a report from the Texas Tribune, including installing door sensors and beefing up mental health training for teachers.

More controversial ideas, like hardening schools via metal detectors, failed to win over everyone on the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security.

“No one wants to talk about metal detectors but that’s the only way to keep guns out of the schools,” said Sen. Joan Huffman, a Republican from Houston.

The meeting comes just days after Gov. Greg Abbott released a 44-page school security plan he described as “a starting point, not an ending place.”

“The strategy that I most strongly encourage the legislature to consider is greater investment in mental health, especially in crisis intervention counselors,” Abbott said. “As long as mental health challenges trouble our children, there will never be enough safety barriers that we can build to protect our students. If, however, we can address mental health challenges faced by our students it will do more than just make our schools safer.”