Is it easier to buy an assault rifle and carry a handgun in Pennsylvania or Texas? How is New Jersey different?
Our law firm represents individuals charged with a variety of gun and firearms offenses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is often assumed that gun and firearm laws are the same between states, but this is simply not the case. Pennsylvania has much more relaxed laws then New Jersey, but even the Commonwealth has stricter gun laws then a state like Texas, which was unfortunately in the news when a massacre occurred an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
As I have written in previous articles, there have been over 239 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 alone and so this issue of gun ownership if at the top of current events. States have the right to legislate and make laws within their borders, but state law can never conflict with federal law under the supremacy clause to the United States Constitution. With that said, conflicts often develop between state and federal law.
Federal Law & Handgun Purchases
Federal law, for example, allows a person 18 years of age or older to purchase any long gun or assault rifle, but federal law also prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to purchase a handgun. Further, only 6 states within the United States have increased the minimum age to purchase a long gun to 21. These include Florida, Washington, Vermont, California, Illinois, and Hawaii. This is a very important issue because m any mass shootings involve perpetrators who are under the age of 21 and may government attorneys have argued that individuals under 21 are often impulsive, emotional and engage in certain risky behaviors that they believe will draw attention or result in some immediate or short term reward.
Rifles & Handguns in New Jersey
In New Jersey, a person cannot even purchase any weapon without first requiring a purchaser identification card. In addition to purchase a handgun in New Jersey, one must first obtain a permit to purchase this type of weapon. There is also a limit in New Jersey with regard to the number of hand guns that can be purchased (one every 90 days). Pennsylvania, like a state like Texas, does not require any type of purchase, identification card and unlike New Jersey, Pennsylvania, like Texas, does not ban any type of assault rifle for purchase.
The Right to Carry in Texas
Texas, however, is very unique in that it does not require a conceal carry permit to carry a handgun within a motor vehicle or car. Pennsylvania and New Jersey both require permits to carry, but it virtually impossible to obtain a permit to carry in New Jersey given that it requires an extensive application process and Court approval.
While there is talk that Congress will attempt to pass legislation which raises the minimum age for all weapons to 21, they have yet to do so.
Is there a waiting period to purchase of handgun in Texas and Pennsylvania
As it stands now, there is no waiting requirement for the purchase of a handgun or long rifle in Pennsylvania or Texas, but New Jersey, as stated earlier requires the purchaser identification card prior to any purchase. Pennsylvania, like Texas, doesn’t band any type of assault rifle, but New Jersey has a long list of rifles and handguns which are banned within the Garden State. These include any semi-automatic rifles which have the following characteristics:
- Flask suppressor or thread barrel
- Folding or telescoping stock
- Pistol grip, which protrudes beneath the action of the weapon
Texas and Pennsylvania have very similar gun laws. They share the following:
• There is no waiting period.
• There is no license or permit to purchase required.
• There is no training required before or after purchasing a firearm.
• The minimum age to purchase a long gun (rifle, shot gun, semi-automatic rifle) is 18. The minimum age to purchase a handgun is 21.
• There is no limit on the number of guns one may purchase at a time.
• There are virtually no regulations on the sale of ammunition.
• Private sales (by unlicensed dealers) of long guns (rifles, shot guns, semi-automatic rifles) do not require background checks
For more information regarding illegal handguns, weapons and firearm offense in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, please contact our law firm.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in PA & NJ
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