Despite Gun Controls, Most NJ Residents Say "Gun Violence" A Top Concern

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

If gun control really worked to reduce violent crime, then folks living in New Jersey should have nothing to worry about. After all, in order to purchase a firearm in the state, residents must first apply for permission from their local police departments; obtaining a Firearms ID card before buying a long gun, or a Handgun Purchase Permit if they want a pistol. New Jersey has universal background checks in place, along with bans on so-called assault weapons and “large capacity” magazines, as well as gun registration laws, waiting periods, and plenty of other restrictions on law-abiding citizens that are supposed to prevent criminals from illegally obtaining a firearm.

Despite all those laws, Garden State residents responding to a new survey say they’re afraid of “gun violence” on a daily basis.

When it comes to fears over gun violence, New Jersey ranks as one of the most-concerned states in the country, according to SafeWise’s “The State of Safety in America 2021” survey.

According to FBI statistics cited in the survey, more guns have been sold in New Jersey so far this year than in 2019, while at the same time, numbers from the New Jersey State Police show that gun violence is on the rise in the Garden State.

Rebecca Edwards, lead safety reporter at SafeWise, said the survey found that 67% of New Jersey residents are highly concerned about gun violence daily, much higher than the national average at 53%.

She said what’s interesting is that the states that are most worried about gun violence don’t tend to necessarily be states that have higher gun sales or have the highest gun ownership rates. They are also not states where it’s easy to get guns.

In fact, the full report by SafeWise indicates that “gun violence” is also a top concern in other gun control utopias like California, New York, and Illinois (as well as in some Second Amendment-friendly states like Texas, Alabama, and Florida.

Gun control activists love to claim that gun sales are driven by fear; that the “gun lobby” and the firearms industry profits when Americans are afraid. When it comes to the states least concerned about “gun violence,” however, there’s a common trend. According to SafeWise, here are the states where most residents aren’t worried about gun-related violence:

  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Idaho
  • Utah

Every single one of those states is a Constitutional Carry state, where if you can legally own a firearm you can legally carry one. These states also have some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation, so it’s not surprising that “gun violence” wouldn’t be much of a concern. It does, however, confound the gun control narrative that gun owners are scared of their own shadows, which is why they buy guns in the first place. It also destroys the “more guns, more crime” myth because these states also have some of the highest rates of gun ownership in the country, in addition to low levels of violent crime.

According to CBS News more than half of residents in Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming own firearms. New Jersey, on the other hand, is tied with Massachusetts for the lowest gun ownership per capita at just under 15%.

New Jersey’s gun control laws seem to be doing a much better job of preventing residents from exercising their Second Amendment rights than decreasing either fears of “gun violence” or actual violent crimes. Despite the state’s draconian gun control laws, however, SafeWise found that 13% of survey respondents in the Garden State say that they protect their property with a firearm; almost triple the 5% that SafeWise recorded last year. Even in one of the most anti-gun states in the Union, more residents are embracing their Second Amendment rights and choosing to live with less fear.