Moving to New Jersey With Your Pennsylvania Gun
Moving out of Philadelphia and into South Jersey isn’t new and hundreds of thousands of have done so over the years. While property values have increased in certain parts of the City, the lack of quality educational options, rising property taxes, trash littered streets, and an increased crime rate combined with poor leadership has recently caused many “lifelong Philadelphians” to move to South Jersey. While the Garden State is far from perfect, its solid schools, steadily increasing property values and overall quality of life, especially for young families make it a better option.
A common question that we receive at our criminal defense law firm from clients and their families is the difference between the gun laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I have written previously articles on this topic but New Jersey is far more stricter in its regulation of guns than the Commonwealth. New Jersey, with its Graves Act, imposes mandatory minimum sentences for the unlawful possession of a handgun or any firearm so its important to understand the law if you do plan on moving.
Here are my answers to two of the most common New Jersey firearm questions
- If I move from Pennsylvania to New Jersey with my gun which I purchased in Pennsylvania, do I need to register it with the State?
No, you do not need to register your handgun with the State but you can if you choose to do so. New Jersey has a voluntary registration policy for firearms.
Do I need to obtain permit to carry a handgun?
Yes. The owner must obtain a permit to carry a handgun, except for at the owner’s residence, place of business, or other owned land.
The application must be signed by the applicant under oath and must be endorsed by three reputable persons who have known the applicant for at least three years preceding the date of application. These 3 people must certify that the applicant is a person of good moral character and behavior. Applications can be obtained at police departments and State Police stations.
What else is needed to obtain a permit to carry in New Jersey
Each applicant shall demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the safe handling and use of handguns by showing the following:
1. Completion of a firearms training course
2. Submission of an applicant’s most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified firearms instructor; and
3. Passage of any test in this State’s laws governing the use of force administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified instructor.
Finally, each application must be accompanied by a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun, which states one of the following:
1. In the case of a private citizen shall specify in detail the urgent necessity for self protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun. Where possible the applicant must corroborate the existence of any specific threats or previous attacks by reference to reports of such incidents to the appropriate law enforcement agencies; or
2. In the case of employees of private detective agencies, armored car companies and private security companies, that:
i. In the course of performing statutorily authorized duties, the applicant is subject to a substantial threat of serious bodily harm; and
ii. That carrying a handgun by the applicant is necessary to reduce the threat of unjustifiable serious bodily harm to any person.
How do I bring my gun to my NJ residence before obtaining a permit?
All weapons being transported into the State must be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
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