Rutgers-Eagleton Poll: New Jerseyans Divided on Firearms in the Home

 When it comes to firearms in the home, New Jerseyans are divided on how helpful they perceive them to be for protection compared to the risks they pose, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in partnership with the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center.

Thirty-two percent of residents polled in December 2023 think storing a firearm in one’s home as a tool doesn’t lower the risk of an intruder coming in and hurting someone in their household, 18 percent think it only slightly lowers the risk, 20 percent think it moderately lowers the risk, and 25 percent think it greatly lowers the risk. Five percent are unsure.

New Jerseyans are mixed not only on how much protection a firearm in the home offers, but on how risky it is for the household members who live in a residence where a gun is present. Thirty-three percent say a firearm in one’s home doesn’t increase the risk at all that someone in their home will die by suicide or unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else with that firearm, 23 percent say it slightly increases the risk, 13 percent say it moderately increases the risk, and 25 percent say it greatly increases the risk. Six percent are unsure.”

“Although opinions may be divided about the risks involved in having firearms in the home, the data is clear on this issue,” said Michael Anestis, an associate professor in urban-global public health at the Rutgers School of Public Health and executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center. “Having a firearm in the home dramatically increases the risk of suicide for all members of the household, while also increasing risk for unintentional shootings and fatal domestic violence. If firearm owners are not aware of this, they may not be taking the necessary precautions to help avoid those outcomes, like storing the firearm securely in the home and storing it legally away from home during times of stress. If a firearm is kept at home to keep people safe, firearm owners should make sure they are actually doing what is necessary to accomplish that goal.”

“There is a mismatch here between perception and reality,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Public opinion alone tells a misleading story that departs from the actual statistics associated with suicide and unintentional shootings in homes with firearms, but what it does importantly tell us is the need to further educate the public on this matter.

Views on the benefits and risks of firearms in the home are divided by familiar demographic lines. Feelings on whether firearms lower the risk of a household member getting hurt by an intruder are highly partisan; two-thirds (65 percent) of Democrats believe it either slightly lowers the risk or doesn’t lower the risk at all, while two-thirds (62 percent) of Republicans believe the opposite. Women (55 percent), people in the highest income bracket (57 percent), and those who completed some type of graduate work (64 percent) are all more likely than their counterparts to believe a firearm in the home does little to nothing lower the risk of an intruder harming someone in the household.

Those with a firearm in the home are more than one-and-a-half times more likely than those without one to say a firearm moderately or greatly lowers the risk of an intruder harming someone in their household (66 percent to 37 percent, respectively). Nearly half of residents with a firearm in the home (48 percent) believe a firearm greatly lowers the risk of harm done by an intruder, with Republicans coming in a close second (46 percent).

Similar patterns emerge when it comes to how much of a risk a firearm in a home is to household members, whether because of suicide or an unintentional shooting. Once again, partisans are on opposite sides – Republicans believe a firearm in the home minimally or doesn’t increase risk (78 percent). Democrats feel the opposite, with over half (55 percent) saying a firearm “moderately” or “greatly” increases this risk; Democrats are more divided than those across the aisle, however. Independents are somewhere in the middle, with 59 percent saying a firearm poses minimal or no risk.

Men (62 percent); people 50 to 64 years old (62 percent); residents living in the exurban (60 percent), southern (61 percent), or shore regions (63 percent); and those with lower levels of education (62 percent for those with a high school education or less and 61 percent for those with some college education) all say a firearm in the household minimally or doesn’t increase risk of harm to household members. Residents with a firearm in the household are the most adamant – 88 percent say this, compared with 46 percent of residents who don’t have a firearm in the household.

Nineteen percent of New Jerseyans report that one or more firearms are typically stored in or around their home. Firearms in the household are more common among Republicans (37 percent), men (26 percent), white residents (23 percent), middle-aged residents (21 percent of those 35 to 49 and 25 percent of those 50 to 64), those in higher income brackets (28 percent of those earning $100 to under $150 thousand and 26 percent of those earning $150 thousand or more), exurbanites (27 percent), those living near the shore (29 percent), and those with some college education (23 percent) or a four-year college degree (23 percent).

“Gun permits are rising in the Garden state, and our numbers within the past year have certainly reflected this,” Koning said. “Those reporting a firearm in or around their home has increased by almost 50 percent compared to the last time we polled this question prior to the pandemic.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,657 adults contacted through multiple modes, including by live interviewer on landline and cell phone, MMS text invitation to web and the probability-based Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel from Dec. 13 to Dec. 23. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The registered voter subsample contains 1,451 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points.


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8 responses to “Rutgers-Eagleton Poll: New Jerseyans Divided on Firearms in the Home”

  1. It should go without saying that if you never fly on an airplane, your chance of dying in an airplane crash is zero.
    If there’s no firearm in your house, the chance of someone accidentally being shot or committing suicide with one in the house is also zero.
    So this is a pointless poll from that regard.
    That does not mean you should never fly and it does not mean that you should not own a firearm if you want to, assuming you are a responsible firearms owner.

  2. Suicide is a hard thing to stop by taking things away. If someone wants to commit suicide, there are more ways then just guns. Other ways that have been used to end ones life is, knife slicing wrists, jumping off bridges, hanging, jumping in front of a train, over dosing on drugs, and drinking poison. I’m sure there are more ways if I think about it, but guns is what’s brought up to get rid of. It’s all guns fault, but the fact is it’s a mental illness issue that should be looked at and treated, but no talk on that!

  3. Read EVERY word of the 2nd Ammendment. This Ammendment grants a collective right of The People in a well/regulated militia to keep and bear arms to defend our nation. It does NOT confer an individual right of an individual to keep and bear arms for personal security.

  4. O.Henry. It’s spelled “Amendment” with one “m”. Not 2 “mm”s. Couple your inability to spell and understand “Amendment” with the TRUE FACT that the SECOND AMENDMENT does, indeed, confer an individual right to keep and bear arms for personal security, as cleared up by the SCOTUS cases Heller, MacDonald and Bruen shows your ignorance of the subject matter.

    You have no clue what the Second Amendment is about, and you have no clue that the right to self-defense by firearms precedes the Amendment and is a God-given right that the Government has no right to impede or ban. In telling by your ignorance, you have never read any of the 3 major SCOTUS cases to understand that the Second Amendment confers individual rights, like all other rights under the Bill of Rights, and that The Federalist Papers addresses this right as an individual right, your point above is irrelevant gas-lighting. You state the Amendment grants a “collective” right of the People to a well/regulated militia. “Collective” is a term used by all Communist countries. The Militia has already been defined by the US Supreme Court to be all able-bodied men (and women) of a certain age that can be brought together to defend their homes, communities, states and nation, without government intervention. The Militia “is all of us”. It has nothing to do about regulation by the government.

    Any further discussion on the subject by you is nothing more then empty-headed falsehoods. Remember this: All gun control leads to total gun bans through the fascist terms of “reasonable” and “common sense” gun control. These terms were used by the former dictatorships of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European Bloc, the dictatorship of Communist China, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan (1931-1945), North Korea, North Vietnam, Cambodia under the Communist Khmer Rouge dictatorship, Afghanistan before Soviet invasion in the 1980s, Cuba, Venezuela, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. Gun control since the beginning of the 20th Century to Present has resulted in those governments mentioned murdering over 250 MILLION innocent people because they would not follow the Communist-Fascist programs.

  5. The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll is a Left-wing poll that is not credible, since it works in conjunction with the State for a desired result. The New Jersey Gun Violence Center is an anti-Constitutional government agency put in place by anti-gunners and anti-Second Amendment organizations to gaslight the public into unlawfully banning guns in NJ. The Poll questions are normally skewed to obtain results in favor of the State, including for the State to impose gun bans.

    Interestingly, more and more people in New Jersey, especially women, where there has been a 40% increase in female gun purchases, have either purchased firearms, or applied for them. Why is that??? Because violent crimes, e.g., murder, rape, assaults, robbery, home invasions, gang violence (because of illegal aliens), is on the upswing in this state, even contrary to the state’s own skewed statistics claiming crime is going down. People are not stupid, and are not being swayed by the state’s anti-gun propaganda. In fact, lawsuits have been filed to rescind or eliminate gun control laws on the books in New Jersey.

    Why is the state not giving us all the factual, relevant information on this??? Because the state wants to continue to spew the Democrat-Communist talking points to unconstitutionally/unlawfully ban firearms in this state. With the above-referenced lawsuits already been filed, pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment groups, lawyers and residents are clawing back their Second Amendment Rights, which is an individual Right, as are the rest of the Bill of Rights.

  6. To “Thomas Jefferson”:

    You are more concerned with holding a warm gun in your hands as that Freud would probably say represents an extension of your male reproductive anatomy, than you are with any profound sense of grief that you should have, but don’t, for the thousands of folks in this country alone, who die from senseless gun violence. You have no concept of humility for others. You are selfish and warped. While I may not be as good a speller as you, I can read what our Constitution says. You, and reactionary, conservative judges misinterpret the plain text of the 2nd Amendment.

  7. Ahhh, O.Henry strikes again, with the personal ad hominem attacks when he can’t argue the facts or the points. I guess over 150 MILLION gun owners in the United States and 6 U.S. Supreme Court Justices don’t know how to interpret the 2nd Amendment!!!! Your leftist, gun control/gun confiscation argument is pointless. The government will never disarm over 150 MILLION firearms owners. Not while the government has a no bail, no prosecution, violent criminal release program going on. More and more women and minorities are purchasing firearms for self-protection and protection of their families. Explain why that is??? I know you can’t. So, for the ignorati like yourself, it is best to STFU, so you don’t look like the moron you are.

    Have you looked at the CDC’s and NIH’s list of what causes the most deaths in the United States??? Gun violence and gun suicides are so far down the list that they aren’t even registering. Gun homicides and suicides are between the 15th and 20th leading causes of death in the U.S. There were 19,000 homicides by guns in 2023 and approximately 24,000 suicides by guns. And, those numbers are coming down. And, yet there were 43,000 deaths by auto in 2023. I don’t here anyone clamoring for automobile control or automobile bans. Driving a car is a privilege. Owning a gun is a Constitutional Right.

    The 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. are lifestyle choices:

    Heart disease: 695,547
    Cancer: 605,213
    COVID-19: 416,893
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 224,935
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 162,890
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,342
    Alzheimer’s disease: 119,399
    Diabetes: 103,294
    Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis : 56,585
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 54,358

    And then there is fentanyl and opioids (coming across the border by the ton, brought in by the illegal alien invasion) causing over 100,000 deaths.

  8. STFU, moron. Owning a gun is not a constitutional right. If you actually make it to heaven, May it be because you were slain by the Holy Spirit and had an attack of conscience, and not because you were senselessly gunned down by a gun nut like yourself.

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