The Autumn season is here and the foliage is coming down what often seems to be bundles throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The fall clean up causes many to look at other areas of their home that need improvements and many in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have decided to start home projects which include cleaning out attics, garages, and other storage containers in our homes.
While you should always keep a handgun or any firearm, in a secure location, there are some people who store it in their home like any other piece of personal property. This is huge mistake that can have life altering consequences. A handgun is obviously a dangerous piece of equipment, which unlike most household items is highly regulated and subject to many state and federal laws which include mandatory minimum state prison sentences in some cases.
If you’ve decided to dispose of a handgun or firearm its important that you do so in the proper manner. You can’t simply give your gun to another person! There are very strict requirements in Pennsylvania and New Jersey regarding selling, transferring, or disposing of a gun along with ammunition.
How can you legally dispose of your handgun in Pennsylvania
Not everyone is eligible to possess a firearm in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, a resident can sell or transfer a long gun to another PA resident if that transferee is not a prohibited person under Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act, Section 6105. Handguns, however, must be transferred at a licensed firearm dealers place of business. At the time of that transfer, the licenses dealer will run a check on the intended recipient (transferee) to ensure that person isn’t prohibited individual.
In addition, the firearms’ dealer will charge a processing fee to complete the transaction. The purchaser must also sign a transfer application and record of sale for the purchase, but no transfer application is necessary to transfer a rifle or shotgun. Pennsylvania also does not impose these requirements on transfers between spouses, parents, and children, or grandparents to grandchildren.
Finally, with regards to permits to carry, Pennsylvania does have reciprocity with several states. Read my article on this topic. In Pennsylvania, any person who intentionally sells, delivers, or transfers a firearm in an unauthorized manner commits a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree but commits a felony of the 3rd degree if the purchaser or transferee is an otherwise prohibited person. In addition, a person is guilty of a felony of the 3rd degree under Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act Section 6111 if he or she makes a false written or oral statement during the purchase process.
How can you legally dispose of your handgun in New Jersey
New Jersey does not have reciprocity with any other state regarding a permit to carry. Unlike Pennsylvania, New Jersey requires a license to even purchase any type of firearm. You must apply through your local police department or your state police station. See 2C:58-3 – Purchase of Firearms
To sell or transfer a handgun in New Jersey, you must take it to a licensed retail dealer in the state. Handguns are required to be registered to the owner; rifles and shotguns are not required to be registered. New Jersey requires a permit to even purchase a handgun, Pennsylvania does not have this requirement.
When you sell a handgun to another resident in New Jersey, the state firearm database will update with the new purchaser’s information. If you sold the firearm to a gun dealer or out of state to a federally licensed firearm dealer, the firearm would remain registered to you. To dispose of a firearm in New Jersey you should contact your local police department where you can document the disposal and destruction.
If you find a gun in a home that you have acquired, you can keep it if it is not an assault rifle. To properly register a handgun, you should turn the firearm over to a licensed gun dealer in New Jersey and obtain a pistol purchase permit which you can use to register the pistol to you in the state. If it is any other type of firearm, you need to obtain a Purchaser Identification Card. See 2C:39-5—Unlawful Possession of Weapon (Handgun –2nd Degree, Rifle, Shotgun—3rd Degree)
The unlawful disposition of a firearm in New Jersey, under 2C: 39-9 can range from a crime of the 2nd degree to a crime of the 3rd degree depending on the circumstances. A New Jersey resident can not purchase a gun or firearm from an out of state resident or entity. The transaction must go through a federal licensed firearm dealer in the state.
Police and Law Enforcement On Vacation in Pennsylvania or New Jersey
If you are a law enforcement officer traveling to New Jersey for vacation, you can carry your firearm under the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act which allows you to carry a concealed firearm in New Jersey or Pennsylvania but there are exceptions. If you choose to do so, please carry your law enforcement credentials
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