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Poll: Gun opinions unchanged after shootings

Pacific Northwest residents have not changed their minds on the need for some additional gun control laws, according to a recent survey conducted for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The survey, taken by DHM Research, found that 77 percent support a law requiring background checks for all gun purchases except for those between family members. That's only 1 percent more than those who supported such a law in an April poll conducted by the same firm before the shootings at Reynolds High School and Seattle Pacific University.

On another question, 63 percent support a law to prevent people with concealed weapons permits from bringing guns onto school grounds — just 2 percent more than the April poll.

“I’ve been looking at these gun control numbers whether Oregon or nationally for a number of years now and it’s remarkable how little events change public attitudes,” said DHM pollster John Horvick.

The poll was released just as a civil trial began over whether the Multnomah County Commission can impose firearm restrictions on cities within the county borders. The outcome could help determine whether any member of Jared Padgett's family is changed with allowing him access to the AR-15 rifle used to kill another student and wound a teacher at Reynolds High School in June. Padgett, 15, committed suicide with the rifle after killing student Emilio Hoffman and wounding Todd Rispler.

The rifle was owned by his brother and stored in a bedroom they shared at their parent's home. An county ordinance adopted in April 2013 imposes penalties on anyone allowing a child to obtain a firearm without authorization. It was approved by the Multnomah County Commission months after the shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Newtown, Conn.

The day of the Reynolds' shooting, Joseff Powell was arrested with a gun at the school. Powell said he went there to protect his sister, a student at the school, after learning of the shooting. He was charged with violating a state law against carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and the county ordinance against having a loaded weapon in public.

The suit, which was filed before the shooting, challenges the authority of the county to impose such restrictions on cities within its borders. Powell was arrested in Trotdale, where the school is located. The Padgett home is in Gresham.

The suit was heard by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Dailey on July 9. She may not rule for months.

The investigation into the Reynolds' shooting is ongoing and the Multnomah County District Attorneys Office will not decided whether to charge anyone in the Padgett family until it is over.