Posted at 12:01 am April 24, 2019, in Gun Control, Rutgers-Eagleton Poll

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New Brunswick, N.J. (April 24, 2019) – Half of New Jersey residents fear they or someone they know will become a victim of gun violence, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers University.

Twenty-three percent are very worried and another 28 percent are somewhat worried about this happening; 22 percent, on the other hand, are not too worried, and 27 percent are not worried at all. Seventeen percent say they or someone they know has already experienced gun violence in the past 12 months.

Despite these fears, two-thirds of New Jerseyans believe gun violence is actually either a small problem (22 percent) or not a problem at all (44 percent) in their local community. A third feel gun violence is a big problem (20 percent) or somewhat of a problem (12 percent).

“While New Jerseyans as a whole may not view gun violence as a major problem, it is a very real and significant concern for certain groups in the state,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University. “Experience with and concerns about gun violence are more prevalent among black residents, lower income residents, less educated residents, and those who live in urban areas.”

New Jerseyans are split on whether having a gun in the house eases concerns about safety: 39 percent say a gun in the house makes it safer, while 40 percent say it makes it more dangerous. Another 16 percent say it depends, and 5 percent are unsure. Fourteen percent of residents report having some sort of firearm in or around their home.

Research tells us that people with guns in the home are at a greater risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide regardless of storage practices, the number of guns or type of guns kept in the home,” said Michael Ostermann, associate professor at Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice and co-director of the Center on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Police records that communicate defensive gun uses, on the other hand, are often not reported – making estimates of the impact of self-protective gun use elusive. Existing studies from the Harvard School of Public Health estimate the probability of gun-owning households using a gun against a home intruder to be rare events, with one defensive gun use per year against an intruder for every 3,500 homes that keep guns.”

When it comes to gun violence in schools, two-thirds of parents (65 percent) say they have talked to their children about the issue. More than six in ten of all residents strongly (41 percent) or somewhat (22 percent) support putting armed guards in K-12 schools; just a third oppose it. But residents say just the opposite about allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds: over two-thirds strongly (54 percent) or somewhat (14 percent) oppose doing this, while under three in ten support it (17 percent strongly, 12 percent somewhat).

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,008 adults contacted by live callers on landlines and cell phones from March 29 through April 9, 2019. The sample has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.


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