⚫ New Jerseyans like the state law that blocks concealed-carry in "sensitive places"

⚫ The U.S. Supreme Court wants to block that rule

⚫ 20% of poll respondents say there's a firearm kept in/around their home

Most adults in New Jersey want it to be more difficult to carry a gun outside the home.

As Gov. Phil Murphy handles another legal blow in his efforts to enact tougher gun laws, a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll finds that 61% of New Jerseyans disagree with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that says Americans can carry in public for self defense.

At the same time, a majority of residents are on board with most of New Jersey's latest concealed-carry rules, including a major piece that was essentially shut down by a U.S. judge this week.

"Throughout our five decades of polling, New Jerseyans, on the whole, have always been supportive of firearm restrictions and regulation," said Ashley Koning, director of the poll. "As New Jerseyans witnessed at least four mass shootings nationally while this poll was being conducted, and on the heels of multiple active shooter scares throughout the Garden State in recent months, the sentiment remains strong."

The poll, conducted in partnership with the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers, gathered responses from more than 1,000 adults between April 27 and May 5.

NJ public vs. federal judge

George Frey, Getty Images
George Frey, Getty Images

In the poll, 58% of New Jersey adults said that individual states should be allowed to require firearm owners to demonstrate a justifiable need for a firearm in public places when applying for a carry permit.

Supported by New Jersey and other states, that "justifiable need" requirement was shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022.

At that point, Murphy set out to make New Jersey's concealed-carry laws as strict as possible while still adhering to the Supreme Court's decision.

By the end of the year, a law was signed that placed strict limits on where guns can be carried — 25 "sensitive places" were listed, including hospitals, beaches, sports stadiums, and theaters.

Sixty-two percent of poll respondents said they agree with banning the concealed carry of a firearm in these areas. But on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Renee Maria Bumb ruled that this restriction would be unconstitutional. The ruling also shot down a part of New Jersey's law that requires permit holders to purchase liability insurance in order to carry a firearm in public — that rule, too, had majority support from New Jerseyans in the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

New Jersey's new ban on firearms in vehicles was also found to be unconstitutional. Garden Staters were more split on this rule in the poll — 50% support the idea of prohibiting permit holders from keeping a loaded firearm in their car, and 47% oppose it.

"The data clearly show that, post-Bruen, judicial decisions regarding firearms are in direct contrast to the wishes of New Jerseyans, overall, and, in many cases, that's true across party lines and for both firearm owners and non-firearm owners," said Michael Anestis, executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center.

The poll does present demographic differences. Republicans, men, and those living in the southwestern region of New Jersey, for example, were more split on whether or not they agree with the June 2022 Supreme Court decision.

Twenty percent of poll respondents said there's at least one firearm typically kept in or around their home.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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