The Top 20 Questions about Guns and Firearms in New Jersey
We receive so many questions from clients and their families; many sadly fail to understand that New Jersey treats illegal guns and firearms different. Our criminal defense law firm, with offices in strives to provide information that will provide immediate value for our clients.
- How does a person obtain a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card and/or a Permit to Purchase a Handgun?
To obtain a permit to purchase, an applicant, must apply through your local police department. If the applicant does not have a local police department, he or she must apply through the New Jersey State Police station that covers their municipality. Out of State residents may only apply for a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card through the New Jersey State Police (excluding toll roads, stations on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway).
To apply online utilizing the Firearms Applicant Registration System (FARS) go to https://www.njportal.com/NJSP/fars. *You must contact the Police Department/Station that covers your residence to first obtain the proper ORI number before starting the application process. Improper submissions are not refunded, just an FYI.
For any further information outlining specific requirements, contact your police department or nearest New Jersey State Police station.
2. How does a person buy rifles and/or shotguns, including bb, pellet, and black powder rifles?
It is the seller’s responsibility to determine that the buyer has a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card plus one additional form of photo identification and completes a Certificate of Eligibility for each firearm. The information contained on the Firearms Purchaser Identification Card must match the identification of the transferor to be valid. A Certificate of Eligibility can be obtained at any licensed firearms dealer, or this web site.
All firearms transactions must be completed at a State licensed retail firearms dealer with the exception of transactions between a) members of an immediate family b) law enforcement officers c) collectors in possession of a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (See N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3 for further information)
3. How does a person purchase handguns, including bb, pellet, and black powder handguns?
You must complete an application for each handgun purchased in New Jersey. It is the responsibility of the seller of the handgun to determine that the buyer has a valid Permit to Purchase a Handgun and one additional form of identification. The information on the Handgun Purchase Permit must match the identification of the transferor. ( i.e, name address, DOB, sex, etc.) The permit must be completed by the seller and buyer. It is the responsibility of the seller to forward the copies to the appropriate authority. Instructions are printed on the permit.
Please keep in mind that all firearms transactions must be completed at a State licensed retail firearms dealer with the exemption of transactions between a) members of an immediate family b) law enforcement officers c) collectors in possession of a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (See N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3 for further information)
4. How do you transport firearms through New Jersey?
Firearms must be transported unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the vehicle in which it is being transported. If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the firearm and or ammunition must be locked container other than the vehicle’s glove compartment or center console and kept farthest from the driver.
As a precaution, ammunition shall be transported in a separate container and locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported. Ammunition magazines may remain loaded during transportation and shall be carried separate from the firearm.
.5. How does one apply for a permit to carry a handgun?
If you reside in New Jersey, you must apply with municipal police department where you reside. If the municipality where you reside is serviced by the New Jersey State Police, you must apply at the station which covers your municipality. Out of state residents must apply to the New Jersey State Police station nearest to their geographic location. All armored car employees, regardless of residential location, must apply with the New Jersey State Police, at the nearest New Jersey State Police station (excluding toll roads, stations on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway).
6. If a person inherits a firearm what are their obligations?
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3j, a firearm purchaser identification card and/or a handgun purchase permit is NOT required for the passing of a firearm upon the death of an owner thereof to his/her heir or legatee, whether the same by testamentary bequest or by the laws of intestacy. The firearm must be legal to possess in New Jersey and the person receiving the firearm shall not be prohibited by N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3c before receiving the firearm.
If the heir or legatee is NOT qualified to acquire and possess the firearm, then ownership may be retained for a period not to exceed 180 days provided the firearm is transferred to the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality or the superintendent during such period.
7. If a person moves into New Jersey from another state, can he or she continue to possess a firearm(s)
Yes. If a gun or firearm is legally acquired in another state and are legal to possess in New Jersey and may be brought to New Jersey by the owner when residency is established. The owner may VOLUNTARILY register the firearm(s) by completing a Voluntary Form of Firearms Registration, found on this website, but is not obligated to do so.
8. Can a New Jersey resident purchase a firearm directly from someone in another State?
No. It is a violation of Federal law for a resident of one state to receive a firearm of any kind from the resident of another state. For the transaction to be legal, it must go through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) in the State that the purchaser/receiver resides in. In New Jersey that means a firearm must be transported or shipped directly to the State licensed retail firearms dealer.
9. Are hollow points legal in New Jersey?
Yes. They are legal for purchase and possess in your home or on land owned by you. They are legal to possess and use at a gun range. They are also legal to possess while traveling to and from such places. Ammunition lacking a hollow cavity at the tip, such as those with a polymer filling, are not considered to be hollow point ammunition.
10. What is considered a “Large capacity ammunition magazine”?
A box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly therefrom into a semi-automatic firearm. Large Capacity does not include an attached tubular device which is capable of holding only .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
Qualified retired law enforcement officers that have registered a handgun(s) with the New Jersey State Police as part of the Retired Police Officers permit to carry program may possess a magazine with a capacity of up to 15 rounds of ammunition for that specific registered handgun(s). Active duty law enforcement officers may possess magazines with a capacity of up to 17 rounds for personal firearms and over 17 rounds for any department issued firearm.
11. What are considered assault weapons in New Jersey?
A complete list of banned firearms can be found in N.J.S. 2C:39-1.w as well as N.J.A.C. 13:54-1.2. If a firearm is not specifically listed by name then it may be considered to be substantially identical if it has the following qualities;
A semi-automatic rifle that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following:
(1) A folding or telescoping stock;
(2) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(3) A bayonet mount;
(4) A flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash
(5) A grenade launcher;
A semi-automatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following:
(1) An ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;
(2) A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;
(3) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned;
(4) Manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and/or
(5) A semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm; and
A semi-automatic shotgun that has one of the following:
(1) A folding or telescoping stock;
(2) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(3) 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.
12. I was given a pistol years ago from a family member or friend and I do not know if it was transferred properly. How do I get the firearm in my name legally?
To legally take possession of that firearm you must take it to a licensed retail firearm dealer in New Jersey and request that the firearm be transferred back to you after all proper State and Federal paperwork is completed and a National Instant Criminal Background Check has been completed by the dealer. For a pistol you must first obtain a Pistol Purchase Permit (See #4). The pistol will now be registered in your name.
13. I have sold several firearms over the years and would like to know if they are still registered to me with the State.
Only handguns are required to be registered to you if purchased in State as a resident. Rifles/shotguns are not required to be registered. If you have sold that handgun to another resident of New Jersey, then the newly submitted Pistol Purchase Permit will update the States firearm database. However if you have sold that firearm to a gun dealer or out of State to a Federally Licensed Firearms dealer, it will remain registered to you. This database is only for criminal justice purposes and a copy of your firearms may not be provided to you.
14. Can I ship a firearm to anyone?
No. You may only ship a firearm to a Federally Licensed Firearms dealer (FFL) for sale or repair. First verify that the license is valid by obtaining their FFL license number and checking https://fflezcheck.atf.gov/fflezcheck/. Or search FFL ez Check and enter the appropriate information.
You may ship a firearm to yourself if you are going to another state where you have another residence. This package must only be addressed to you, the firearm owner.
15. I live in another State but also maintain a house in New Jersey, can I apply for a pistol permit or firearms purchaser card?
Yes. You can be considered a dual resident if you can show proof of residency here in New Jersey. Proof of residency can be established with a valid government issued identification showing your New Jersey residence or a government issued tax record or government issued utility bill (i.e. water bill from the town). The issuing police department will utilize your New Jersey address on your documents so you must retain your proof of residency to purchase a firearm.
16. Can a servicemember stationed in New Jersey purchase a firearm in New Jersey?
Yes. You must have military orders showing that you are stationed in New Jersey and provide a copy of same with your Firearms Purchaser Identification Card and/or a Permit to Purchase a Handgun application at your local/state police department. You would be considered a dual resident and must provide that proof at the time of firearms purchase also.
17. Can an active duty law enforcement officer traveling to New Jersey for vacation, carry his or her firearm?
Yes. If you are Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA/HR218) compliant you may carry a concealed firearm in New Jersey. You must carry your law enforcement credentials and understand that you are restricted to 17 rounds of ammunition per magazine. If you are in New Jersey for official purposes and on duty with your department issued firearm, then there is no restriction. Hollow point ammunition is allowed for active duty Law Enforcement officers, whether on or off duty.
18. How do you properly dispose of an old gun or firearm?
Contact your local police department for destruction. According to N.J.S. 2C:39-12 Voluntary Surrender, you may provide written notice including the proposed date and time of surrender to the superintendent or chief of police of municipality in which you reside prior to transporting same to that department. You may also contact a gun shop to inquire if they would like to purchase the firearm from you. They must provide you with a written receipt if they take the firearm.
19. If a person finds gun in the house/storage unit I purchased. What should they do and can they keep it?
If want to keep, the firearm, provided it is New Jersey compliant (i.e. not an assault weapon), it may be kept, or sold. To properly register a found gun, the firearm should be turned over to a licensed gun dealer in New Jersey and you must obtain a Pistol Purchase Permit.
20. Are airsofts firearms?
No. They are considered toys in New Jersey. The plastic pellet ammunition utilized for an airsoft contain a hollow cavity which do not conform to a solid projectile.
- Are Tasers legal? Can I carry one?
Yes, an October 20, 2017 Memorandum from the State of New Jersey Office of Attorney General reviewed the findings of a Supreme Court decision and a Consent Order signed into effect by the State of New Jersey states that Stun Guns in New Jersey are legal for sale and possession with only two restrictions. You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase or possess and you must not be a certain persons prohibited against purchasing or possessing one as per N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7(a).
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