Should teachers be armed? Forty-four percent of Americans think so.

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Screenshot/Twitter/CBS News)

President Trump has made a determined push for arming school teachers after the Parkland, Florida, shooting last week, but voters appear divided on the issue, a new CBS News poll reveals. Half of Americans, 50 percent, are opposed to arming teachers, while 44 percent are in favor of the plan, the poll found.

"If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," the president said during a listening session at the White House on Wednesday. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten blasted the idea: "Teachers don't want to be armed, we want to teach," she said.

Sixty-five percent of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, up 8 points since December due to mounting support by Republicans and independents. Forty-one percent of Republicans said they would follow Trump's lead if he called for stricter laws, as he has suggested.

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Overall, 87 percent of Americans want the country to spend more money on mental health screenings, 75 percent want to strengthen background checks, 56 want to ban bump stocks, and 53 percent want a nationwide ban on the AR-15, making arming teachers the least popular of the ideas being mulled.

The poll reached 1,012 adults nationwide between Feb. 20 and 22. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 points. See the full results here. Jeva Lange

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