NEW BRUNSWICK – Almost two-thirds of New Jersey’s registered voters think controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting gun owner rights, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released today. The poll, taken both before and after the Aug. 24 Empire State Building shooting, also finds that a similar number are “very concerned” about the scope of gun violence in America. Voters are split, however, on whether America has become more violent (42 percent) or if violence is simply more visible in the news (48 percent).
Among the 22 percent of respondents with a gun in their household, a majority (53 percent) is very concerned over gun violence, while 41 percent agree that controlling ownership is more important than gun owner rights.
Nearly half of voters think New Jersey guns laws should be made stricter, though only 28 percent in households with guns are on board with tightening state laws; a plurality (40 percent) of these voters prefer gun laws remain unchanged.
“With the high-profile shootings in Colorado and the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, it seemed time to revisit the question of gun control,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “Interestingly, people we talked to after the Empire State Building shooting were no more concerned about gun violence than those we talked to beforehand. The evening after the shooting, we got a slight increase in support for gun owner rights, opposite of what we expected, and people were more likely to say violence is not on the rise, just more visible in the news.”
Results are from a poll of 916 registered voters conducted statewide among landline and cell phone households from Aug. 23-25. The poll was in the field when the Empire State Building shooting occurred on Aug. 24. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.
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