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The vast majority of Oregonians believe that state gun control laws should be stricter than they are today.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Voters are weighing gun control among other November generalelection issues.A slim majority of Oregonians plan to vote for a candidate that supports more gun control in the November general election, according to a new survey published by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center.

The survey found that 54% of Oregonians surveyed indicated they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports more gun control, compared to 19% of Oregonians who said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is in favor of less gun control. Two and 10 Oregonians surveyed were either undecided or did not care, the survey showed.

Women were found to be more likely than men to seek candidates who support more gun control, the survey found.

The values and belief center, an independent, nonpartisan research group, released the survey Thursday, Aug. 25. The center surveyed 1,572 Oregon residents ages 18 and older between July 8 and July 16. A previous gun control survey was released in June and showed the majority of Oregonians support stricter gun laws.

The new survey was done to provide more comprehensive and nuanced results than the previous survey, which was meant to create more of a baseline, said Amaury Vogel, the associate executive director of the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center.

"In June we asked people just a couple of questions that were surface level questions because everybody had just gone through the shooting in Buffalo and the shooting in Uvalde," Vogel said. "In July we wanted to ask about it particularly because we had several mass shootings and a rise in gun violence and it is something that is a big factor in the November election."

The more recent survey showed that about half of Oregonians indicated the recent mass shootings do not affect the likelihood they will vote in the November election. More than a third of Oregonians, or 36%, said they are more likely to vote in November as a result of the recent mass shootings.

The survey found the vast majority of Oregonians, or four in five residents, believe there should be some level of gun control, and that gun control laws in Oregon should be stricter than they are today.

The survey results showed men in Oregon are more likely to own guns than women, and women are united in wanting at least some level of gun control, with 88% of women compared to 79% of men indicating they believe there should be some gun control.

Deschutes County gun owner Slater Kellstrom said he believes the current gun laws in Oregon should be enforced instead of passing new laws.

"The amount of people, both private citizens and public officials, who don't know laws regarding guns and concealed carrying of guns in this state boggles my mind," Kellstrom said. "Officials make laws or regulations or pronouncements that directly contradict established state laws and suffer no repercussions. Enforce the laws as written, treat infractions as serious matters not slaps on wrists."

The survey also found that a strong majority, or 88% of Oregonians, support background checks for all gun purchases, preventing the sale of firearms to those with certain mental health conditions, as well as the expansion of screening and treatment for people with mental illnesses.

Sienna Fitzpatrick of Deschutes County believes people should have access to guns for recreation and self-defense, but feels more safeguards should be in place to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.

"There needs to be more done to limit who can access them, especially young men with mental health issues and people with histories of violence. But that's just a symptom of the problem," Fitzpatrick said. "More resources need to be available for improving community wellbeing, like mental and physical healthcare, economic development, community building projects like recreation areas, afterschool programs, and skill-building opportunities."

The statewide survey took each participant about 15 minutes to complete. To ensure diversity in the survey results, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center set demographic quotas and recorded data based on the area of the state participants were from, their genders, ages, and education levels. Participants from a wide variety of backgrounds were included.

A previous Pamplin Media Group story on the issue can be found here.


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