New Jersey prohibits the knowing possession of “assault firearms”1 (unless the purchaser or possessor is licensed to possess the assault firearm or the weapon is registered or rendered inoperable), defined to include:

  • More than 50 specified firearms or their copies;2
  • A semi-automatic shotgun with either a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a pistol grip, or a folding stock;3
  • A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 15 rounds;4 and
  • A part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault firearm, or any combination of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.5

Any person seeking to purchase or possess an assault firearm in New Jersey may apply for a license to do so by filing a written application with his or her county’s superior court, setting forth in detail the reasons for desiring such a license.6 “No license shall be issued to any person who would not qualify for a permit to carry a handgun…and no license shall be issued unless the court finds that the public safety and welfare so require.”7 See the section entitled Concealed Weapons Permitting in New Jersey for additional information.

New Jersey prohibits any person from manufacturing, transporting, shipping, selling or disposing of an assault firearm without being registered or licensed to do so under state law.8

Any person who lawfully purchased an assault firearm on or before May 1, 1990 was permitted to register that weapon within one year, if the Attorney General determined it was of a type used for legitimate target-shooting purposes.9 The owner was also required to pay a $50 fee per weapon, produce for inspection a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC), a valid permit to carry handguns, or a copy of the permit to purchase a handgun which was used to purchase the assault firearm being registered, and submit valid proof of membership in a rifle or pistol club.10

Upon the death of a registered owner of an assault firearm, the owner’s heirs or estate have 90 days to either transfer the weapon to someone lawfully entitled to own or possess it, render it inoperable, or voluntarily surrender the gun to law enforcement.11

Finally, any person who offers to sell a semi-automatic rifle or “assault firearm” by means of an advertisement published in a newspaper circulating within New Jersey, where the advertisement does not specify that the purchaser is required to possess a valid New Jersey license to purchase and possess an assault firearm, or a valid FPIC to purchase and possess a semi-automatic rifle, is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.12

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-5f. “Assault Firearm” is defined under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(1), (2). ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(3). ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(4). ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(5). ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5a. ⤴︎
  7. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5b. Licenses expire two years from the date of issue. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5g. See N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-5.1 – 13:54-5.4, 13:54-5.6 – 13:54-5.7 for further information on assault firearms. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-9g. ⤴︎
  9. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12b. ⤴︎
  10. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12b. ⤴︎
  11. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12f. See also N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-13 (provisions for prior owners who chose not to register their assault firearms). ⤴︎
  12. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-15. ⤴︎