A new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released today finds that New Jerseyans broadly disagree with last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down parts of the state’s concealed carry law; substantial majorities also said they support several new firearm restrictions the state enacted in response to the court’s decision.
The poll – which was conducted in conjunction with Rutgers’ New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center – first asked whether respondents agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen, which the poll characterized as “[rendering it] unconstitutional for a state to require a license to carry a concealed firearm in public in most circumstances.” 36% of respondents said they agreed with the ruling, while 61% disagreed.
Disagreement was strongest among Democrats, who opposed the ruling 15%-82%; even among Republicans, the ruling only mustered a 53%-45% approval rating. Men (46%-52%) were dramatically more likely to support the ruling than women (27%-70%).
The poll also asked a related follow-up question about support for a “justifiable need” requirement for firearm carry permits, which was what the court’s decision focused on. 58% of respondents said they states should be allowed to implement justifiable need requirements, compared to 38% who said they should not.
In the wake of last year’s ruling, the state legislature passed, and Gov. Phil Murphy signed, a bill amending New Jersey’s concealed carry laws and adding several new restrictions. That law was handed a major legal blow earlier this week, though the Rutgers-Eagleton poll was conducted several weeks ago and thus can’t account for recent developments.
According to the poll, several parts of the law are overwhelmingly popular. Support for mandating firearm safety training courses polled at 92%-7%; requiring firearm owners to purchase liability insurance was at 67%-30%; banning firearms on private property unless the property owner allows it was at 67%-29%; and banning firearms in “sensitive areas” like schools and hospitals, among other places, was at 62%-34%.
But one other part of the law produced a much more closely divided response. Prohibiting firearm owners from carrying loaded guns in their own cars polled at 50% support, 47% oppose, making by far the most controversial policy asked about in the poll.
“Throughout our five decades of polling, New Jerseyans, on the whole, have always been supportive of firearm restrictions and regulations,” Ashley Koning, the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers, said in a statement accompanying the poll. “Even if New Jersey’s recent firearm legislation ultimately works its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, public opinion has already chosen sides.”
The poll asked one final question: “Are there any firearms typically kept in or around your home?” 21% of respondents said yes, while 78% said no; not surprisingly, those who owned firearms were consistently more opposed to gun control measures than non-firearm owners.
The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, conducted in partnership with the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, was in the field from April 27-May 5 with a sample size of 1,002 New Jersey adults and a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.