Poll: Gun storage issues gather support
A new poll commissioned by an Oregon group aiming to reduce gun violence suggests that most Oregon parents and teachers think gun storage requirements would be effective.
The poll found that 76 percent of parents and 79 percent of teachers surveyed believed "requiring guns to be safely stored so children and teenagers can't gain unintended access to them would be the most effective policy to reduce gun violence in schools."
About 72 percent of Oregon parents are concerned about gun violence here, according to the poll, which also indicates that about 60 percent of Oregon parents also believe that fear of gun violence is affecting students' ability to learn at school.
State of Safety is a nonpartisan group led by Henry Wessinger, who early this year backed an unsuccessful initiative petition to enact gun storage and transfer regulations. Wessinger and supporters withdrew their petition in June when it became apparent that they did not have enough time to gather enough signatures to get it on the November ballot.
The measure would have also included a requirement to report lost or stolen firearms and would have imposed civil liability on people who violated the measure for any injuries to people or property that occur as a result of the violation within five years.
Opponents slam petition
The petition was one of two gun control initiative petitions that failed to make it to the Oregon ballot this year.
In the aftermath of the shooting Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that galvanized the nation's gun control activists, a coalition of interfaith groups had wanted to ban certain types of semiautomatic firearms, but also withdrew the measure before the signature deadline, citing time constraints. Wessinger says he wants to focus State of Safety's efforts on public outreach and education on gun safety issues.
Patinkin Research Group conducted the telephone poll between Aug. 20 and Sept. 5. The poll included 1,000 respondents — 600 parents of kids in school and 400 teachers. The margin of error for the sample was plus or minus 3 percent.
State of Safety said the Oregon PTA provided assistance in conducting the poll.
State of Safety says Patinkin worked to get a representative sample of the state's population, including party affiliation, geographic location, and age.
The group also says a previous statewide poll, conducted in May, found that 65 percent of Oregonians would support a ballot measure imposing gun storage requirements.
The effort encountered opposition as it was going through the state ballot title process. In comments to the secretary of state, opponents said it would impinge on their ability to defend themselves and argued that the effort was unconstitutional. Some opponents also raised concerns about the civil liability provision.
State of Safety declined to release a list of questions posed to respondents in the poll they released Thursday.
The group's next step is a series this fall of public documentary film screenings of "101 Seconds," a documentary about the Clackamas Town Center shooting. The first screening and town hall meeting, which Wessinger will moderate, is on Sunday, Sept. 16, at Portland State University.
East Oregonian / Pamplin Media