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By Dave Van Zandt

According to a recent poll by the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy, Tennessee parents believe some measures could be implemented to protect students from gun violence in schools. The poll, which surveyed over 1,000 parents, was conducted in the fall of 2022 and released just days before a shooting at The Covenant School in Green Hills that claimed the lives of three students and three staff members.

The poll revealed that 70.5% of Tennessee parents believe schools would be safer if background checks were expanded to be required for all gun sales. Furthermore, over 63% of parents believe that schools would be safer if families and law enforcement could temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms. However, a version of so-called red flag laws proposed by Democrats failed to advance in the state legislature.

The poll also found that 54.7% of parents believe guns should not be allowed on school property, while 53.7% believe the age to purchase a gun should be 21. Half of the parents support restricting the sale of high-capacity magazines.

In terms of school security measures, the poll revealed that 83.1% of parents believe schools are safer with one or more school resource officers inside the building. Additionally, 69.5% of parents think schools would be safer with metal detectors. However, only 35.9% of parents believe schools would be safer if teachers were armed.

The poll provides insight into the opinions of Tennessee parents on gun violence prevention measures in schools. The results show that the majority of parents support expanding background checks and allowing temporary restrictions on access to firearms. While the opinions on allowing guns on school property and the age to purchase a gun are split, there is overwhelming support for school resource officers and metal detectors as security measures.


Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy
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