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October 8, 2015

With gun safety and schools once again making national headlines, it is somewhat shocking that despite the state’s strict gun laws, a significant number of New Jersey high-school students said they had carried a gun in the previous month. (They did not, however, necessarily bring the gun to school.)

Every two years, the federal government requires the state to poll high-school students on a variety of topics concerning behavioral risks (drugs, guns, bullying, cigarettes, sex, and so on). The last published survey, in 2013, showed that 2.9 percent of New Jersey students said they had carried a gun in the previous 30 days, and 2.7 percent said they had brought a weapon of some type -- gun, knife, club, and the like -- onto school property.

Nevertheless, this was called out as less than the national average, which was 5.5 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Other than weapons, New Jersey students were considered on par with peers across the country when it came to violence and bullying over the previous 30 days.

Although New Jersey students were engaged in about the same number of bullying incidents and fights, and were relatively equal when it came to depression, they were significantly less likely to attempt suicide (even if they had a plan). About 14 percent of New Jersey’s high-school students said they had seriously considered suicide, while 17 percent of students had done so nationally.

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