Most high school students think gun laws should be tougher — but that number spikes even higher in New Jersey, a new poll finds.

Newsela, a company that presents online news stories for students in five different reading levels, polled more than 25,000 high school students, including more than 1,300 in New Jersey. According to Stephanie Vatz , the managing editor of Newsela, nationally 67 percent either agreed, or strongly agreed gun laws should be tougher.

“77 percent of New Jersey students either agreed or strongly agreed that gun laws in the United States should be stricter,” she said.

She said kids were also asked if teachers should be allowed to carry licensed guns in school to protect students. Of those asked in New Jersey, 42 percent of students strongly disagreed that teachers should be allowed to carry guns into the classroom, and 22 percent disagreed — a total of 64 percent.

Nationally, a total of just 55 percent of students said teachers should not be allowed to carry weapons in school.

"Students in New Jersey are very against the idea of teachers bringing guns into the classroom, so I believe these students are a little bit more progressive even than the rest of the country," Vatz said.

She pointed out while the survey found a significant majority of students in Jersey and across the country were in favor of tougher gun control measures, “24 percent of students around the country do not support stronger gun control regulations — but in New Jersey that number was a lot smaller, it was 17 percent.”

When New Jersey students were asked whether the minimum age to buy assault weapons should be raised to 21, “30 percent agreed that the minimum age should be increased, and 42 percent strongly agreed, so nearly 75 percent of students in New Jersey agreed that the minimum age should be raised.”

Nationally, 67 percent agreed the minimum age should be raised.

Vatz noted the poll also asked student whether they would attend another gun protest or write to an elected official about the issue.

“31 percent were unlikely to attend a protest and 25 percent were unsure, so most student are either unlikely or unsure to actually take action," Vatz said.

The survey also found 57 percent of students agreed that bump stocks, mechanisms that allow a shooter to fire more bullets more quickly, should be banned.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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