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Poll: New Jerseyans are divided on gun issues

A majority of gun rights and gun control advocates support Gov. Chris Christie vetoing a bill limiting firearm magazine size, but the latest poll from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute also finds an even larger majority opposes the governor’s decision not to meet with parents of victims from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Governor Chris Christie holds a press conference
Governor’s Office, Tim Larsen

In the survey, 49 percent of respondents said they supported the veto, while 42 percent believe Christie should have signed the bill; 9 percent are unsure.

“While people generally support gun control measures when we asked in the past, this one just didn’t strike them the same way,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University.

Redlawsk said the measure limiting magazines from 15 bullets to 10 might have seemed “minor” to some people.

On the same day Christie issued the veto, he refused to meet with parents of the children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, a decision 66 percent of respondents opposed.

“It doesn’t matter whether these are people who support gun control or prefer to support gun rights,” Redlawsk said. “Virtually every group said, ‘Hey, Governor, you should have met with them.’”

Concern over guns remains high, with 68 percent saying they are “very concerned” about gun violence in general. However, that number is a 9 percent drop from immediately after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

Gun control continues to trump gun ownership in terms of importance for residents, 64 percent favoring the former while 31 percent support the latter, according to the poll.

The poll surveyed 871 New Jersey residents by phone and was completed prior to the recent events in Ferguson, Mo.

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