NEW BRUNSWICK – New Jerseyans’ concern about gun violence in America has eased somewhat since the Sandy Hook shootings in December, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll issued Wednesday.
In the week following the school shooting in Connecticut, 77 percent of Garden State residents were “very concerned.” That number has dropped to 69 percent.
The same percentage believes it is more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun owner rights, a slight dip from 72 percent in December.
“The immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook saw a clear increase in concern about guns in New Jersey,” noted David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “As that particular shooting fades in the public eye, concern has also dropped, though it remains slightly above pre-Sandy Hook numbers.”
Gov. Chris Christie empaneled a task force to examine various aspects of violence, including mental health aspects. That group has begun its work and is holding public hearings this week.
In addition to the administration’s steps, various lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have introduced bills addressing different aspects of gun violence.
About a third of New Jerseyans (34 percent) believe easy availability is the primary cause of gun violence in America, with inadequate background checks (16 percent) and how parents raise their children (15 percent) as distant runners-up, the poll shows.
Also, 48 percent have an unfavorable impression of the National Rifle Association, while 28 percent view the NRA favorably. New Jerseyans are split on whether stricter gun laws would actually reduce the amount of violence in the country.
Results are from a poll of 796 adult New Jerseyans conducted statewide among landline and cell phone households from Jan. 30 – Feb. 3 with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.