Most Oregonians favor stricter gun control laws at state and federal level, survey finds
Alex Baumhardt/Oregon Capital Chronicle
Across geography, age, race and gender, a majority of Oregonians favor tighter gun control laws at the state and national level, according to a recent survey.
The nonpartisan Oregon Values and Beliefs Center in Portland found that nearly 60% favored stricter federal gun regulations, and 56% said the same about the state’s regulations.
The center conducted the survey online the first week of June, drawing more than 1,400 responses from Oregon adults.
On June 25th, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan gun bill into law, about a month after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
The law strengthens background checks for young gun buyers, increases spending on mental health care, expands a ban on gun purchases by people with domestic abuse charges and directs the federal government to pay states that enact red-flag laws, which allow police to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed too dangerous to have them.
Nationwide, three out of five Americans want stricter federal gun laws, according to a Pew survey conducted in April 2021.
According to the Oregon survey, the largest divide on gun regulations in the state was among those with differing political affiliations. Among Democrats, 90% want tighter federal gun laws and 85% want stricter state laws. About one-quarter of Republicans called for tighter gun laws nationwide and in the state.
Among Oregon’s gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Tina Kotek has called for stricter state and federal regulations, including proposing legislation to expand background checks and ban gun purchases by people with domestic abuse charges. Unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson voted against these measures as a Democratic state Senator. Republican candidate Christine Drazan, the Republican state House leader from 2019 to 2021, voted against legislation that would have required safe gun storage. Both she and Johnson have received “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association.
According to the survey, women, college graduates and those with higher incomes and who live in cities are most supportive of stricter gun control laws in Oregon and across the country.
Women in Oregon were nearly 20% more likely to want tighter national gun laws than men and half as likely to own a gun.
Rural Oregonians were twice as likely to own a gun than urban Oregonians. This is due in part, according to the researchers, to the use of guns for hunting in rural areas. About one-third of everyone surveyed said they own a gun. This reflects the nationwide number as well, according to the Pew survey.
But just 54% of Oregonians said that making it harder for people to obtain guns would reduce mass shootings in the U.S. In 2021, there were almost 700 mass shootings in the country. So far in 2022, there have been more than 300, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Oregonians under 30 years old and those older than 74 were more likely to want stricter gun control laws than other age groups. People of color were slightly less likely to support stricter gun control laws than white residents.