ST. LOUIS – Gun control and school safety are two priorities with bipartisan backing among Missouri voters, new research finds.

Saint Louis University and YouGov PLC conducted a poll last month on several issues facing the Missouri legislature, collecting responses from more than 900 perspective Missouri voters.

Regarding safety and gun control measures, the poll found…

  • At least 59% of Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters support criminal background checks, mental health background checks, and a 21-year-old age requirement before a Missourian can purchase a gun.
  • At least 57% of Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters support requiring schools to have metal detectors, security cameras, and a police officer on campus.
  • Around 56% of voters reported they were “somewhat” or “very worried” about a shooting happening at Missouri schools
  • Around 49% of Missouri voters rated “safety at public schools across Missouri” as fair or poor
  • Around 48% of voters support the concept of teachers and school administrators to carry guns in schools, and 37% oppose.

The polls were conducted more than three months after tragedy at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. A gunman killed two people and injured several others Monday morning in a shooting at the school before he later died in an exchange of gunfire with police. CVPA students traveled to the Missouri Capitol earlier this week, calling on Missouri lawmakers to act.

“These results suggest school safety is on the minds of many Missourians. Findings indicate bi-partisan support for several school safety measures,” said Ashley Donaldson Burle, chief of operations and a research fellow at Saint Louis University’s PRiME Center. “However, voters are more divided or unsure on controversial measures such as allowing teachers and school administrators to carry guns.” 

In recent weeks, lawmakers have pushed for legislation to prohibit anyone under 20 from purchasing semi-automatic weapons, ban minors from carrying guns on public property without a 21-year-old present and enact red flag laws within Missouri. After the CVPA shooting, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said that mental health, not gun control legislation, should be a larger priority to address school safety.

SLU collected responses between Feb. 8 and Feb. 14.

“These results indicate that even though overwhelming majorities of Missouri voters believe in their right to own a gun, both Democrats and Republicans want stricter gun laws in Missouri,” said Steven Rogers, Ph.D., director of the Saint Louis University/YouGov poll and an associate professor of political science at Saint Louis University.

Perspective voters were also asked about education, childcare policies and constitutional amendment reform after the legalization of recreational marijuana. For the full poll results, click here.