Gun laws in New Jersey

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Location of New Jersey in the United States

Gun laws in New Jersey regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of New Jersey in the United States.[1][2]

Summary table[edit]

Subject/LawLong gunsHandgunsRelevant statutesNotes
State permit to Purchase?YesYesA lifetime purchaser identification card is required for any firearm purchase. An additional permit is required for each handgun purchase. Only one handgun can be purchased within a 30 day period.
Firearm registration?NoYes*The NJ State police maintains a record of all handgun transfers, except for inherited firearms willed to the transferee. Firearm registration is voluntary, but since handgun purchase permits are also a form of register, there is de-facto mandatory handgun registration for handguns purchased in-state. *However, handguns purchased out of NJ are not required to be registered, not withholding banned weapons and local restrictions.
Owner license required?NoNo
Carry permits issued?NoYesN.J. Admin. Code § 13:54New Jersey is a "may-issue" state for concealed carry. Permit applicants must "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." As a result of this tough standard, New Jersey is effectively a "no issue" state unless one is a retired law enforcement officer. Armed security typically gets restricted permits limited to carry while on duty only. A letter of need from the security company is required.
Open carry?NoYesOpen carry is allowed only with a concealed carry permit, and is generally not practiced.
State preemption of local restrictions?NoNoThere is limited state preemption for some firearm laws.
"Assault weapon" law?YesYesNJCC Title 2C:39-1New Jersey prohibits the possession of certain named firearms or "substantially identical" firearms deemed to be "assault firearms", including possession of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled. Firearms classed as assault firearms but acquired before May 1, 1990 and registered with the state are legal to possess. Police officers may possess "assault weapons" for duty purposes and may possess personal assault weapons with recommendation by their agency.
Magazine Capacity Restriction?YesYesMagazines limited to 15 rounds. Police officers may possess "standard capacity magazines" for duty purposes and may possess personal "standard capacity magazines" with recommendation by their agency.
NFA weapons restricted?YesYesPossession of automatic firearms is prohibited without a state license, which is generally not granted.

Permits to purchase/own[edit]

In New Jersey, firearm owners are required to get a lifetime Firearm Purchaser Identification card (commonly known as a FPIC, FPID or FID card) for the purchase of rifles, shotguns or handguns. To purchase a handgun, a separate permit is needed from the Chief of Police of their municipality, or the Superintendent of State Police if the municipality does not have a local police department. A permit is required for each handgun to be purchased and expires after 90 days. These, like the initial Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC), are provided to applicants on a shall-issue basis. They require in-depth application questioning, multiple references and background checks via the State Bureau of Identification and New Jersey State Police; however, authorities do not have discretion and must issue permits to applicants who satisfy the criteria described in the statutes. Reasons for denial include being convicted of a crime (equivalent to a felony) or disorderly persons offense (equivalent to a misdemeanor) in the case of domestic violence. As of August 2013 anyone on the terror watchlist is also disqualified.

NJ law states that Firearms Identification approval and/or handgun purchase permit(s) must be issued within 30 days. However, this is rarely adhered to. Applicants are able to appeal the denial of permits. The Firearm Purchaser ID card is also required to purchase handgun ammunition at dealers in the state. "Handgun ammunition" is interpreted as any caliber that can be used in a handgun, therefore some rounds that are typically used in rifles and shotguns require one to show an FID card to purchase.

Limits and restrictions[edit]

Hollow-point ammunition is available for unrestricted purchase from most retailers wherever firearms are sold, and may be transported by purchasers without special licensing. However, hollow-point bullets may not be carried outside of a place of target practice, dwelling, premises or land possessed by a person, even if one has a valid permit to carry a handgun, except when being transported directly to and from these places. [3] Additionally the NJ Superior Court in State v Brian Aitken have ruled that there is no exception for moving between residences with hollow-point bullets. [4]

Capacities of semiautomatic handguns and rifles (total in magazine excluding chamber) are limited to 15 rounds.[5] Furthermore, beginning January 1, 2010, New Jersey limits handgun purchases to one per 30 day period. Upon completing a New Jersey State police form, an FID card holder may be granted permission to purchase more than one handgun a month by declaring good reason. Reasons may include: recreational shooting; the purposes of collectors; when it is required for certain employment; and when obtaining firearms as the beneficiary of a will. [6] The State application required for this increase, Form SP-015, specifically requires the make, model and serial number of each firearm to be transferred prior to the exemption, keeping the spirit of the purchasing limit safe from circumvention. [7]

Permits to Carry and Transport[edit]

New Jersey may issue Permits to Carry to both residents and non-residents, who must submit applications to the chief law enforcement officers of their municipalities, or the Superintendent of State Police in areas where there is no local police department. Armored car employees are required to apply to the Superintendent of State Police. Non-residents may apply to the Superintendent of State Police. By statute, New Jersey is a may-issue permit system, in which authorities are allowed discretion in the approval and denial of applications. Additionally, training and range qualification is required. After a background check and review by the law enforcement agency, permit applications are forwarded to the Superior Court where they are approved or denied. [8]

Every applicant not applying as a law enforcement officer must demonstrate justifiable need in order to obtain a permit, by means of a letter detailing specific need attached to the application.[9] Justifiable need has been defined as, "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."[10] This standard gives Superior Court judges wide discretion in approving or denying permits. Many applicants have reported difficulty in obtaining New Jersey Permits to Carry, especially non-residents. Most people do not even bother to apply since denial is almost a certainty and any denial must be disclosed on subsequent applications for permits to purchase a firearm. Registered and licensed private security officers and private investigators encounter less difficulty, however their permits are usually heavily scrutinized and restricted to carry while on duty only.

Retired law enforcement officers are eligible to obtain a permit to carry a handgun without specific justifiable need, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6.l. These permits are administered by the Superintendent of State Police and not subject to judicial review unless the officer was denied and is appealing a denial.[11] Additionally, qualified retired law enforcement officers may carry under LEOSA, which allows retired and current law enforcement officers who qualify and meet certain criteria to carry concealed firearms.

Federal law 18 USC 926A entitles a person to transport a firearm; however, arrests have been made for having an unregistered handgun when flying out of NJ airports. In 2005, Gregg C. Revell was traveling through Newark Airport, but because of a missed flight, he was given his luggage, which included a properly checked firearm, and he was forced to spend the night in New Jersey. When he returned to the airport the following day and checked his handgun, he was arrested for illegal possession. Mr. Revell lost his lawsuit after The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in Gregg C. Revell v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, [222] held that "Section 926A does not apply to Revell because his firearm and ammunition were readily accessible to him during his stay in New Jersey." This opinion will apply to NJ airports. If you miss a flight or for any other reason your flight is interrupted and the airline tries to return you luggage that includes a checked firearm, you cannot take possession of the firearm if you are taking a later flight.


  1. ^ "State Gun Laws: New Jersey", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  2. ^ "New Jersey State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  3. ^ "Transportation and Use of Hollow Point Ammunition by Sportsmen", New Jersey State Police. Retrieved March 16. 2013
  4. ^ "State v Brian Aitken". Rutgers law school. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in New Jersey", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Graber, Trish G. "Gov. Corzine Signs New Law Limiting N.J. Gun Purchases", The Star-Ledger, August 6, 2009
  7. ^ Form SP-015: Application for Multiple Handgun Purchase Exemption, New Jersey State Police. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Gun Permits", New Jersey Courts. Retrieved March 16. 2013.
  9. ^ "Application for permit to carry a handgun" New Jersey State Police. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  10. ^ "IN RE: the Application for a New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun" Superior Court of New Jersey,Appellate Division. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  11. ^ "Retired Officers Right to Carry" New Jersey State Police. Retrieved March 16, 2013.