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April 24, 2019

Half of New Jersey residents (51 percent) fear they or someone they know will become a victim of gun violence. Twenty-three percent are very worried about the possibility and another 28 percent are somewhat worried. Twenty-two percent 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. A new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers University, elicited the views on gun violence.

Despite the fears, two-thirds of New Jerseyans believe gun violence is either a small problem (22 percent) or not a problem at all (44 percent) in their local community. A third consider gun violence to be 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.”

There was an almost even split among respondents on whether keeping a gun in the home is a useful safety measure. Thirty-nine percent say a gun in the home 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.

On the issue of gun violence in schools, two-thirds of parents (65 percent) say they have talked to their children about it. More than six in 10 residents strongly (41 percent) or somewhat (22 percent) support putting armed guards in K-12 schools, while a third are opposed. But residents don’t favor allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds: More than two-thirds strongly (54 percent) or somewhat (14 percent) oppose doing this, while less than three in 10 support it (17 percent strongly, 12 percent somewhat).

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