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In our opinion: Does poll show that people are unmoved by shootings?


Survey of Northwest residents indicates people want change, but no more than before atrocities

A recent online poll of Northwest residents found that while many people favor the government taking action to curb gun violence recent shootings in Oregon and Washington did nothing to increase that notion.July 9 editorial

The poll, commissioned by Oregon Public Broadcasting and undertaken by DHM Research of Portland, found that 77 percent of the Oregonians questioned said they somewhat or strongly support formation of a law that would require background checks for all gun purchases, except for those between family members. Washington’s numbers were at 79 percent while Idaho was slightly less at 72 percent. It should be noted that 54 percent of the Idaho residents polled had at least one gun in their home, compared to 37 percent in Oregon and 38 percent in Washington.

Nearly half of Idahoans (48 percent) were adamant, however, that the government was spending too much time and resources on gun control; Oregonians and Washingtonians (42 and 43 percent, respectively) said the government was spending too little time and resources on gun control.

Respondents from all three stated they strongly or somewhat supported a law which would allow school districts to prevent those private citizens with concealed weapons permits from bringing guns on school premises.

The method for the research was an online survey of the Northwest’s general population, age 18 or older and conducted between June 25 and June 30. Twelve-hundred people were polled in each state, with 400 respondents selected as a proportional sample. It should also be said that the respondents were primarily residents of the urban areas of each state, namely Portland, Seattle and Boise.

How do the samples compare to results from a poll just a month prior, before the shootings at Seattle Pacific University and Reynolds High School?

Overall, there was slight uptick in those calling for universal background checks and prohibiting concealed weapon permit holders from carrying on campus. But it’s not exactly a groundswell of support for immediate action and that probably accurately reflects the sentiment among many: Many people want change, some don’t, and few have the stomach for fundamental changes in the nation’s gun laws, so the prospect for substantive change is slim.