Gun laws in New Jersey

Gun laws in New Jersey regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the U.S. state of New Jersey.[1][2] New Jersey's firearms laws are among the most restrictive in the country.

Location of New Jersey in the United States

Summary tableEdit

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? Yes Yes A lifetime purchaser identification card is required for purchase of rifles and shotguns, as well as for purchases of handgun ammunition. A permit to purchase a handgun, valid for 90 days is required for each handgun purchase. Only one handgun can be purchased within a 30-day period. According to judicial ruling, purchase permits/identification cards are supposed to be granted on a “shall-issue” basis.
Firearm registration? No Yes The NJ State Police Firearms Investigation Unit (NJSP FIU) maintains a record of all handgun transfers, except for inherited firearms willed to the transferee, or firearms brought to the state by new residents moving to the state. Firearm registration is voluntary, but since handgun purchase permits are also a form of register, there is de facto mandatory handgun registration for handguns purchased in-state. Purchases by NJ residents must either be from a licensed dealer in NJ or a private individual who is a resident of NJ. In both dealer purchases and private sales, a copy of the purchase permit is sent to the NJSP FIU. A NICS background check at the point of sale is only required for purchases from dealers.
Owner license required? No No Purchaser Identification Card required to purchase firearms in state. License is not required to own or possess firearms at exempt locations,[3] only to purchase. Firearm must be compliant and/or brought into compliance with NJ law before entering NJ.
Permit required for concealed carry? N/A Yes N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54 New Jersey calls its permit a "permit to carry a handgun" and is a "shall-issue" by judicial ruling for concealed firearm carry. It must be approved by both the township's police chief and a NJ judge, whereas the applicant will not know who denied the $20 application to carry.
Permit required for open carry? No Yes Open carry is allowed only with a permit to carry a handgun and is generally not practiced except by security officers and others who carry firearms on duty. While it is technically legal to carry long guns with a valid Firearm Purchaser ID card, it is generally frowned upon by law enforcement, except when hunting. One can expect to be detained and questioned in most places if carrying in this manner. However, open carry of loaded long guns is not permitted.
State preemption of local restrictions? No No There is limited state preemption for some firearm laws.
Assault weapon law? Yes Yes N.J.S.A 2C:39-1[4] New Jersey prohibits the possession of certain named firearms or "substantially identical" firearms deemed to be assault firearms, including possession of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled. Firearms classed as assault firearms but acquired before May 1, 1990 and registered with the state are legal to possess. Police officers may possess assault weapons for duty purposes and may possess personal assault weapons with recommendation by their agency.
Magazine capacity restriction? Yes Yes Magazines are limited to 10 rounds for semi-automatic pistols and rifles, and 6 rounds for semi-automatic shotguns. Tubular fed fixed magazine .22s exempt.
NFA weapons restricted? Yes Yes N.J.S.A 2C:39-3(a-c)[5]; N.J.S.A 2C:58-5[6] Possession of short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, destructive devices, and suppressors are prohibited to the average citizen. Law is silent on AOWs. Possession of a machine gun requires a state license, which is granted on a may issue basis by a county superior court judge. Machine gun licenses are extremely difficult to obtain.
Background checks required for private sales? Yes Yes Private firearm sales require a background check conducted through a federally licensed gun dealer except for temporary transfers,[7] transfers between law enforcement officers, or transfers between immediate family.[8]
Red flag law? Yes Yes A judge may issue a gun violence restraining order authorizing the police to confiscate a person's firearms if the judge determines that the person poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself or others. In recent practice, New Jersey has extended that petition to anyone to Red Flag a gun owner.


Constitutional provisionsEdit

The Constitution of New Jersey has no provision explicitly guaranteeing the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.

Limits and restrictionsEdit

Hollow-point ammunition is available for unrestricted purchase from most retailers wherever firearms are sold, and may be transported by purchasers without special licensing. However, hollow-point bullets may not be carried outside of a place of target practice, dwelling, premises or land possessed by a person, even if one has a valid permit to carry a handgun, except when being transported directly to and from these places. LEOSA (HR 218) qualified and retired or separated LEOs carrying anywhere in the US are exempt from state laws and may legally carry hollow-point ammunition or any ammunition that is not prohibited under the Gun Control Act of 1968 or the National Firearm Act.[9] Additionally the NJ Superior Court in State v Brian Aitken has ruled that there is no exception for moving between residences with hollow-point bullets.[10]

Some localities have adopted Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions.[11][12]

Permits to purchase and ownEdit

In New Jersey, anyone seeking to purchase (but not to possess or use at exempt locations)[13][14][15] firearms is required to obtain a lifetime Firearm Purchaser Identification card, commonly referred to as FPIC, for the purchase of rifles and shotguns. To purchase a handgun, a separate permit is needed from the Chief of Police of their municipality, or the Superintendent of State Police if the municipality does not have a local police department. A permit is required for each handgun to be purchased and expires after 90 days but may be extended for an additional 90 days at the discretion of the Chief of Police or Superintendent of State Police. These, like the initial Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC), are provided to applicants on a may-issue basis. They require in-depth application questioning, multiple references and background checks via the State Bureau of Identification and New Jersey State Police; however, authorities do not have discretion and must issue permits to applicants who satisfy the criteria described in the statutes. Reasons for denial include being convicted of a crime (equivalent to a felony) or disorderly persons offense (equivalent to a misdemeanor) in the case of domestic violence. As of August 2013 anyone on the terror watchlist is also disqualified.

NJ law states that Firearms Purchaser Identification approval and/or handgun purchase permit(s) must be issued within 30 days. However, this is not always adhered to with some applicants waiting months to receive their permits. Applicants are able to appeal the denial of permits. The Firearm Purchaser ID card is also required to purchase handgun ammunition at dealers in the state. "Handgun ammunition" is interpreted as any caliber that can be used in a handgun, therefore some calibers that are typically used in rifles and shotguns require one to show a FPIC to purchase.

Private firearm transfers require a background check conducted through a federally licensed gun dealer. The dealer is required to keep a record of the sale. There are limited exceptions, including for transfers between members of an immediate family and for law enforcement officers.[16][17]

Forms required by municipalitiesEdit

N.J.S.A 2C:58-3(f)[18]:

There shall be no conditions or requirements added to the form or content of the application, or required by the licensing authority for the issuance of a permit or identification card, other than those that are specifically set forth in this chapter.

Only two forms are required to obtain a FPIC or permit to purchase a handgun: the "Application for Firearms Purchaser Identification Card and/or Handgun Purchase Permit", STS-33, and "Consent For Mental Health Records Search", SP-66. Additionally, the Chief of Police for the Municipality or the Superintendent of State Police may require an applicant to be fingerprinted or complete a "Request for Criminal History Record Information", form SBI 212A. Fingerprinting is usually done at private facilities such as Morpho (Safran) and the SBI 212A form can be submitted online or on paper. The method of submission is determined by the local police department. Many police departments and the NJSP are moving toward online submission and phasing out the paper SBI 212A.

Some municipalities have required additional forms, photographs and other requirements such as notarization. These forms are not required for approval per NJSA 2C:58-3a. This has been affirmed by the Appellate Court in two cases, one against the City of Paterson by resident Jeremy Perez, and another against Jersey City by resident Michael McGovern where the court ruled against the cities in violation.[19][20][21]

FeesEdit

Each FPIC application fee is $5 and each permit to purchase a handgun is $2. Fingerprinting is charged a fee by the private facility contracted by the state, approximately $50 to $60. The SBI 212A "Request for Criminal History Record Information" application fee is $18 if submitted on paper or $20 if submitted online. Each police department has its own policy with regard to which method they choose for background checks. Some may require fingerprinting for each application, but most only require it for the initial FPIC.

New Jersey limits handgun purchases to one per 30-day period. Upon completing a New Jersey State police form, an FID card holder may be granted permission to purchase more than one handgun a month by declaring good reason. Reasons may include: recreational shooting; the purposes of collectors; when it is required for certain employment; and when obtaining firearms as the beneficiary of a will.[22] The State application required for this increase, Form SP-015, specifically requires the make, model and serial number of each firearm to be transferred prior to the exemption, keeping the spirit of the purchasing limit safe from circumvention.[23]

Self-made firearmsEdit

New Jersey outlawed the manufacture and sale of self-made firearms/homemade firearms in 2018 and the transfer and possession in 2019 along with 3D printing guns, including possessing or sharing computer code that can be used to program the printing of such guns.[24][25] The law is being challenged in court.[26]

Permits to carry and transportEdit

Permit to carry a handgunEdit

New Jersey “shall-issue” a Permit to Carry a Handgun to both residents and non-residents in accordance with New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.[27] One must submit an application to the chief law enforcement officer of one's municipality, or the Superintendent of State Police in areas where there is no local police department. Armored car employees are required to apply to the Superintendent of State Police. Non-residents may apply to the Superintendent of State Police. By judicial ruling, New Jersey is a "shall-issue" permit system, in which authorities must issue a permit if the applicant meets the minimum requirements.[27] Additionally, training and range qualification is required. After a background check and review by the law enforcement agency, permit applications are forwarded to the Superior Court where they are approved or denied.

New Jersey formerly had a “justifiable need” standard by which an applicant was required to show a special, specific need, such as a substantiated threat, to be issued a permit. Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen voided this requirement.[27]

Qualified retired law enforcement officers may carry under LEOSA, which allows retired and current law enforcement officers who qualify and meet certain criteria to carry concealed firearms. There is no requirement for qualified retired or separated officers to apply for the state permit when carrying under LEOSA, 18 U.S. Code § 926C, since the federal law trumps state law through the Supremacy Clause. As of the end of 2013, there were 1,212 active Handgun Carry Permits in New Jersey, out of a population of nearly 9 million residents.[28]

Carry to exempted locationsEdit

There are a few exempted locations where one may carry and possess firearms. These locations are one's home, place of business, premises or land possessed, or to a gunsmith for purposes of repair. Members of rifle or pistol clubs that submit their names to the state police annually are allowed to possess and transport their firearms to "a place of target practice." Those who are not members of a rifle or pistol club can carry their firearms to "an authorized target range." One may also carry firearms to the woods or fields or waters of the state for purposes of hunting or fishing. One must have a valid hunting or fishing license and the firearms must be appropriate for hunting or fishing to be covered under this exemption.

Interstate transportation of unloaded firearmsEdit

Interstate transportation is covered under the Safe Passage provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA), 18 USC § 926A, which states:

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

However, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has found that this provision only applies to transporting a firearm in a vehicle, and that carrying a firearm in a locked container in checked luggage in an airport terminal to declare it to the airline constitutes unlawful possession and is not protected under the law. This decision was a direct result of a 2005 incident where Gregg C. Revell, a Utah Resident with a valid Utah Concealed Firearm Permit was traveling through Newark Airport en route to Allentown, Pennsylvania. Because of a missed flight, he was given his luggage, which included a properly checked firearm, and was forced to spend the night in a hotel in New Jersey. When he returned to the airport the following day to check his handgun for the last portion of the trip, he was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm. Revell lost his lawsuit after The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in Gregg C. Revell v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, [222] held that "Section 926A does not apply to Revell because his firearm and ammunition were readily accessible to him during his stay in New Jersey." This opinion will apply to NJ airports. If a traveler misses a flight or for any other reason their flight is interrupted and the airline tries to return their luggage that includes a checked firearm, the traveler cannot take possession of the firearm if they are taking a later flight. The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) later also sued the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which resulted in a similar decision.

Assault firearms and magazine capacityEdit

Firearms classed as "assault firearms" but acquired before May 1, 1990, and registered with the state are legal to possess. Police officers may possess assault weapons for duty purposes and may possess personal assault weapons with recommendation by their agency. FFLs are also allowed to possess "assault firearms."

Assault firearm feature criteriaEdit

Under New Jersey law, a firearm is classified as an "assault firearm" if it meets the following criteria:[29]

Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and at least two of the following:
Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and at least two of the following:
  • Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
  • Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer
  • Barrel shroud safety feature that prevents burns to the operator (does not include the slide of a pistol)
  • Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
  • A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.
Semi-automatic shotguns with at least one of the following:
  • Folding or telescoping stock
  • Pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon
  • A fixed magazine capacity in excess of six rounds;

A semiautomatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds.

A firearm that meets the above criteria is considered to be “assault firearm” and may only be possessed by a licensed firearms dealer, active duty law enforcement officers and active duty military personnel.

“Assault firearm” shall not include a semi-automatic rifle which has an attached tubular device and which is capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

Banned manufacturers, models, and typesEdit

The following manufacturers, models, and types are banned:[30]

  • Armalite AR-180 type
  • Australian Automatic Arms SAR
  • Avtomat Kalashnikov type semi-automatic firearms
  • Beretta AR-70 and BM59 semi-automatic firearms
  • Bushmaster Assault Rifle
  • Calico M-900 Assault carbine and M-900
  • CETME G3
  • Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88 type
  • Colt AR-15 and CAR-15 series (Colt Match Target Rifle are allowed)
  • Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1 and Max 2, AR 100 types
  • Demro TAC-1 carbine type
  • Encom MP-9 and MP-45 carbine types
  • FAMAS MAS223 types
  • FN-FAL, FN-LAR, or FN-FNC type semi-automatic firearms
  • Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12 shotguns
  • Galil type
  • Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, MP5, PSG-1
  • Intratec TEC 9 and 22 semi-automatic firearms
  • M1 carbine type
  • M14S type (M1A's are allowed)
  • MAC 10, MAC 11, MAC 11-9mm carbine type firearms
  • PJK M-68 carbine type
  • Plainfield Machine Company Carbine
  • Ruger K-Mini-14/5F and Mini-14/5RF (Folding & Telescopic Models)
  • SIG AMT, SIG 5050SP, SIG 551SP, SIG PE-57 types
  • SKS with detachable magazine type
  • Spectre Auto carbine type
  • Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48 type
  • Sterling MK-6, MK-7, and SAR types
  • Steyr A.U.G. semi-automatic firearms
  • USAS 12 semi-automatic type shotgun
  • Uzi type semi-automatic firearms
  • Valmet M62, M71S, M76, or M78 type semi-automatic firearms
  • Weaver Arm Nighthawk

Magazine capacityEdit

In New Jersey, it is illegal to possess any magazine that is capable of accepting more than 10 rounds of ammunition for semi-automatic weapons. Sales to law enforcement agencies or to federally licensed firearm dealers are exempt.[16][31]

This definition shall not include a semi-automatic rifle which has an attached tubular device and which is capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

Bump stockEdit

In his final day in office in January 2018, Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie signed legislation making the gun accessory known as a bump stock illegal.[32]

New Jersey Childproof Handgun LawEdit

The New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law is a 2002 state law that requires that all Dealers offer at least One smart gun for sale in their store.[33]

Red flag lawEdit

Under New Jersey's red flag law, a judge may issue a gun violence restraining order authorizing the police to confiscate a person's firearms if the judge determines that the person poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself or others. A hearing must be held within ten days. At the hearing the person's firearms may be taken away for a period of up to one year.[34]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "State Gun Laws: New Jersey", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  2. ^ "New Jersey State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  3. ^ "2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes :: Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice :: Section 2C:39-6 - Exemptions". Justia Law. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  4. ^ New Jersey General Assembly. "N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1". Statutes of New Jersey. New Jersey.
  5. ^ New Jersey General Assembly. "N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(a-c)". Statutes of New Jersey. New Jersey.
  6. ^ New Jersey General Assembly. "N.J.S.A. 2C:58-5". Statutes of New Jersey. New Jersey.
  7. ^ "2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes :: Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice :: Section 2C:58-3.1 - Temporary transfer of firearms". Justia Law. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  8. ^ "2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes :: Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice :: Section 2C:58-3 - Purchase of firearms". Justia Law. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  9. ^ "TITLE 13. LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY CHAPTER 54. FIREARMS AND WEAPONS" "Transportation and Use of Hollow Point Ammunition by Sportsmen" Archived 2013-09-17 at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey State Police. Retrieved March 16. 2013
  10. ^ "State v Brian Aitken". Rutgers law school. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  11. ^ NJ.com, Rob Jennings | NJ Advance Media for (December 13, 2019). "N.J. town declares itself a sanctuary for 2nd Amendment. 'We're gun-friendly.'". nj. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  12. ^ "Township of West Milford resolution" (PDF).
  13. ^ "2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes :: Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice :: Section 2C:58-6.1 - Possession of firearms by minors; exceptions". Justia Law. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  14. ^ "2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes :: Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice :: Section 2C:39-6 - Exemptions". Justia Law. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  15. ^ "2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes :: Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice :: Section 2C:58-3.1 - Temporary transfer of firearms". Justia Law. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Wing, Nick (June 13, 2018). "New Jersey's Tough Gun Laws Just Got Even Stronger". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "Assembly Bill No. 2757 (1R)" (PDF). New Jersey Legislature. May 21, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  18. ^ New Jersey General Assembly. "N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(f)". Statutes of New Jersey. New Jersey.
  19. ^ "In the Matter of the Application for a New Jersey Firearm Purchaser Identification Card".
  20. ^ "Jersey City man gets gun permit after three-year legal war". December 2, 2014.
  21. ^ "In the Matter of Application of Jeremy Perez".
  22. ^ Graber, Trish G. "Gov. Corzine Signs New Law Limiting N.J. Gun Purchases", The Star-Ledger, August 6, 2009
  23. ^ Form SP-015: Application for Multiple Handgun Purchase Exemption, New Jersey State Police. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  24. ^ "New Jersey S2465 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session". LegiScan. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  25. ^ "New Jersey S3897 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session". LegiScan. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  26. ^ "Second Amendment Foundation". Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  27. ^ a b c Symons, Michael SymonsMichael. "How does Supreme Court ruling change NJ conceal-carry gun law?". New Jersey 101.5. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  28. ^ [Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States, Crime Prevention Research Center, July 9, 2014]
  29. ^ 5.N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(5)
  30. ^ 1.N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-5f
  31. ^ "Assembly Bill No. 2761". New Jersey Legislature. May 21, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  32. ^ "N.J. Bans gun device used in Las Vegas shooting". January 15, 2018.
  33. ^ Joseph Steinberg (January 11, 2016). "Smartguns: What You Need to Know". Inc. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  34. ^ Wing, Nick (June 13, 2018). "New Jersey's Tough Gun Laws Just Got Even Stronger". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 6, 2018.