NJ Voters Want Crackdown on Gun Violence [POLL/AUDIO]
The Newtown tragedy and last week's school shooting in California have brought the issue of gun violence back into the national spotlight. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to deliver new gun law policy proposals to President Barack Obama tomorrow. New Jersey voters are clearly united behind the belief that more needs to be done to keep people safe. That's the clear finding in a new Fairleigh Dickinson University-Public Mind poll released today.
Three-quarters (76%) of registered voters in the Garden State favor greater restrictions on guns and ammunition.
The only proposal offered to reduce gun violence in society that garners more support is instituting more proactive mental illness measures (93%). Rounding out the list of measures with majority support is reducing the level of violence in movies and video games (61%).
NJ Split on NRA's "Arm Schools" Plan
When it comes to measures that have been offered in response to the recent tragedy by gun rights advocates, Garden Staters are far less supportive. 50% are against the National Rifle Association's proposed plan to arm schools, with 45% in favor. Just 24% support fewer restrictions on guns and ammunition.
Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University says, "A lack of support for these measures comes as no surprise since New Jersey residents are clearly more pro-gun control in their beliefs than supportive of the rights of gun owners."
58% of respondents identify themselves as "pro-gun control," compared with nearly a third (31%) who consider themselves to be "pro-gun ownership."
Just 16% of New Jerseyans say they or someone in their household owns a handgun or other firearm. As for the effect that owning a firearm has on an individual's attitudes toward gun control, gun owners are far less likely to endorse more restrictions. A slight majority of gun owners (53%) support more restrictions, while four out of five non-gun owners offer a similar response (81%).
The majority support for proposals to help reduce gun violence runs across every demographic. Jenkins says, "There's a fairly broad consensus across a variety of groups in New Jersey over what folks would like to both do and not do in order to stem the tide of gun violence. Taken as a whole, these findings underscore the appreciation that Garden State residents have for the complexity of solving the problem of gun violence."
Jenkins acknowledges that there is no simple solution, but says voters, to varying degrees, are open to the idea of trying some proposals more than others.
The poll of 700 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from January 2 through January 6, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.