Can I Get in Trouble for Owning a Gun in NJ?

By Davis Law Firm | September 29, 2020

New Jersey has some of the strictest firearms laws in the country. If you are in New Jersey and have or are considering owning or possessing a gun, you need to familiarize yourself with the state’s gun laws and what kind of conduct can get you in trouble for owning a gun.

Do You Need a Permit?

New Jersey requires any person wishing to purchase a firearm to obtain a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card or a Permit to Purchase a Handgun. If you live in New Jersey, you can obtain these permits by applying to your local police department; out-of-state individuals can obtain these permits through the New Jersey State Police.

If you wish to carry a handgun while in public (including as part of your employment with an armored car or security company), you must apply for a permit to carry from the police department where you reside in New Jersey; out-of-state individuals can apply to the State Police.

If you purchase a firearm or carry a handgun without the proper permits, you can be arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Inheriting, Being Gifted, or Finding a Firearm

In some cases, a person may unintentionally come into possession of a firearm. 

For example, an individual may be bequeathed or inherit a firearm from a deceased individual. An individual does not need to obtain a purchaser ID card or permit to inherit a firearm, provided the firearm is legal to possess in New Jersey and the individual is not a person prohibited from possessing a firearm (e.g. a felon, a person convicted of domestic violence, a person judged incapacitated). If someone inheriting a firearm is disqualified from possessing that firearm, he or she may retain possession for up to 180 days for the purposes of turning over the firearm to the local police department.

If you are given a firearm and you wish to keep it, you must take it to a federally licensed firearms dealer in New Jersey to fill out the required state and federal paperwork to officially transfer ownership to you; if the firearm is a pistol, you will need to obtain a pistol purchase permit. If you don’t wish to keep it, you can surrender it to your local police department or sell it to a licensed firearms dealer. The same goes if you find a firearm in property that you come into possession of, such as when you buy a home or rent a storage unit.

Coming into possession of a firearm without either transferring it to law enforcement or properly registering it to you can potentially lead to an unlawful possession charge.

Purchasing Firearms in Another State

It is illegal to purchase firearms from another state; gun purchases can only be made from a federally licensed firearms dealer in New Jersey, which must receive the shipment of an out-of-state firearm. You also may only ship firearms out of state to a federally licensed firearms dealer for sale or repair, except that you may ship a firearm to yourself in another state where you maintain a residence so long as the package is addressed to you.

You can maintain dual residency in another state and New Jersey and apply for a firearms purchaser card or permit to carry a handgun with the local department for the municipality where your New Jersey residence is located.

Illegal Firearms in NJ

Some types of firearms are unlawful for individuals to own under any circumstances. These firearms include:

  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • Silenced weapons
  • Assault weapons
  • Defaced firearm (except for antique firearms)

It is also unlawful to own armor-piercing ammunition or large-capacity magazines.

Contact an Experienced Hamilton Township Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Gun Charges in New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with firearms offenses in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with firearms offenses in Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, Princeton, and throughout New Jersey. Call 609-587-9100 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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