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New Jersey Gun Control Laws

Gun control has become an ever-increasingly discussed and debated topic throughout the country. While the federal government has limited control over the ownership and use of firearms, state gun control laws tend to vary quite a bit between the individual states.

The main provisions of New Jersey gun control laws are listed in the table below. See Details on State Gun Control Laws to learn more.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, Title 2c, Chapter 39, Sections 2C:39-1 through 2C:39-20 The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, Title 2c, Chapter 58, Sections 2C:58-1 through 2C:58-32

Illegal Arms

The following firearms and accessories are prohibited in New Jersey:
  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • Silencers
  • Defaced firearms
  • Armor penetrating bullets
  • Any weapon capable of firing a projectile of a caliber greater than 60 caliber
  • Machine guns or assault firearms if unlicensed
  • Bump stock or trigger cranks
  • Covert or undetectable firearms

Waiting Period

New Jersey's strict requirements for purchasing a firearm include a waiting period. If you want to purchase a firearm, you will need one of two types of permits. To purchase a handgun, a person needs to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun. To purchase a shotgun a rifle, a person needs to obtain a New Jersey firearms purchaser identification card. The waiting period for either permit can take as long as 30 days (45 days for non-residents).

Who May Not Own

A person cannot own a firearm if they:
  • Have been convicted of the crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit the crime, of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, carjacking, gang criminality, racketeering, terroristic threats, unlawful possession of a machine gun, unlawful possession of a handgun, unlawful possession of an assault firearm, leader of firearms trafficking network, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, domestic violence offenses, specified weapons offenses, or the unlawful use, possession, or sale of a controlled dangerous substance
  • Have been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution, or sanitarium unless they possess a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that the person is no longer suffering from a mental disorder that interferes with or handicaps the person in the handling of a firearm
  • Have been convicted of a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence
  • Have had firearm seized pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," or are subject to a court order prohibiting the possession of firearms

License Required?

A person needs a valid permit to purchase a firearm to buy a handgun or a valid firearms purchaser identification card to buy a shotgun or rifle.

Concealed Carry License Required?

New Jersey prohibits possessing a handgun in public without a permit to carry a handgun.

Open Carried Allowed?

New Jersey does not prohibit open carry in public if a person possesses a permit to carry a handgun.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To be eligible for a permit to carry a handgun, a person must:
  • Be thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns
  • Have a justifiable need to carry a handgun
  • Not be subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of Section 2C:58-3
  • Have three reputable persons who have known the person for at least three years certify that the applicant is of good moral character and behavior

Machine Gun Laws

In New Jersey, it is illegal to possess a machine gun without a state license.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

The penalties for violating New Jersey's gun possession laws depend on the offense. Illegal gun possession penalties range from a crime of the fourth degree to a crime of the second degree. The potential sentences for these degrees of crime are:

  • Fourth degree: up to 18 months imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine
  • Third degree: 1 to 5 years imprisonment and up to a $15,000 fine
  • Second degree: 5 to 10 years imprisonment and up to a $150,000 fine

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Illegal possession of a firearm on school property is a crime of the third degree punishable by 1 to 5 years imprisonment and up to a $15,000 fine.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Charged With a Gun Crime in New Jersey?

It's not too late to protect your right to own a firearm. If you face state or federal gun charges, find a qualified attorney through our directory who can help you.

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