State of Safety releases poll results of Oregon parent and teacher attitudes on gun violence

PARENTS AND TEACHERS BELIEVE SAFE GUN STORAGE MOST EFFECTIVE POLICY IN PREVENTING GUN VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS - SEPTEMBER 13, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Earlier today, State of Safety released results from a statewide poll of 1,000 parents and teachers on the topic of school safety and gun violence. State of Safety commissioned the poll to quantify the perceptions of gun violence among parents and teachers in Oregon. Oregon PTA provided assistance in conducting the poll.

State of Safety is a nonpartisan organization working to reduce gun violence and promote gun safety for all Oregonians. The new nonprofit provides gun safety information and education using evidence-based data on what policies, regulations and laws work best to reduce gun violence and promote responsible gun ownership. This poll is the initial activity for State of Safety.

Below are some of the key findings:

  • 75% of Oregon parents believe gun violence in the U.S. has gotten worse over the past year

  • 72% of Oregon parents are somewhat concerned or very concerned about gun violence in Oregon, with 41% saying they are very concerned about gun violence in Oregon

  • 60% of Oregon parents believe that fear of gun violence is affecting students’ ability to learn at school

  • In Oregon, 76% of parents and 79% of teachers believe 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

“All Oregonians should find the level of fear and concern regarding gun violence to be unacceptable,” said Henry Wessinger, Executive Director of State of Safety. “State of Safety believes everyone has the right to be safe from gun violence so it is encouraging to see the high percentage of parents and teachers who want safe gun storage.”

“Previous statewide polling found that 65% of Oregonians favored a ballot measure requiring safe gun storage,” continued Wessinger. “Safe gun storage is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical issue supported by gunowners, non-gunowners, Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Safe gun storage laws are a proven, effective policy for reducing gun violence, including suicide by firearms.”

Other proposals for reducing gun violence in schools that parents and teachers believed would be effective are expanding access to counseling and mental health services; expanding anti-bulling programs and other programs to fight student harassment; and limiting the number of entrances to school buildings.

“The polling confirms what we hear all the time when we talk about issues of safety at school,” said Kristi Dille, President-elect of Oregon PTA. “The PTA takes a holistic view of safety that includes a lot of things mentioned in this poll, such as the importance of mental health and counseling services, conflict resolution and kindness and respect. As adults, we need to be smart and responsible with firearms. We need to support and encourage what responsible gun owners know, that safe storage will make a difference.”

Next up for State of Safety is a statewide screening tour of the Clackamas Town Center shooting documentary, “101 Seconds.” The film will be followed by a town hall where participants will be encouraged to engage in a broader conversation about gun safety issues. The goal of the tour is for Oregonians, in towns across the state, to listen to each other and better understand where there are common points of view to channel a more productive dialogue. The tour will visit 11 Oregon communities beginning in Portland at 1 p.m. at the Portland State University Smith Memorial Student Union in room 327/328 on September 16 at 1 p.m. For more information about the screening tour visit facebook.com/stateofsafety/events.

Student perspectives on safety in schools

In addition to polling parents and teachers, State of Safety interviewed a number of students throughout the state to hear their perspectives. The following Dropbox link contains video of student opinions on these issues, as well as graphics from the poll:
https://bit.ly/2COK4NR.

About the poll

Patinkin Research Group, a Northwest-based firm that conducts regional and national polling for both issues and candidates, conducted the telephone poll between August 20 and September 5, 2018. The margin of error for the sample is plus or minus three percent.

About State of Safety

State of Safety is committed to making our communities and our homes safe from gun violence. We are an evidence-based, nonpartisan voice for Oregon’s gun safety community. We seek to collaborate with national and other Oregon-based organizations committed to reducing gun violence. We value constructive dialogue and diverse perspectives, recognizing there are many ways to make our state safer. For more information visit stateofsafety.org.

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Thomas Mosher