Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

In order to engage in the retail sale of firearms in New Jersey, all firearms dealers and their employees must possess a valid retail license.1

Applicants for a retail license must submit applications to the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), through the NJSP’s Firearms Investigation Unit, which conducts an investigation to determine whether the applicant or employee meets state requirements to obtain a license.2 Once the investigation is completed, the application is forwarded to a superior court judge in the county where the applicant maintains his or her place of business for a final decision on the application.3 The judge shall grant a license if he or she finds that the applicant or employee meets the standards and qualifications established by the Superintendent,4 and that the applicant can engage in the business of the retail sale of firearms or be an employee of a retail dealer without any danger to the public safety, health and welfare.5

No license shall be granted to any retail dealer under age 21, to any employee of a retail dealer under age 18, or to any person who could not qualify to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) (including any corporation, partnership or other business organization in which the controlling interest is held by an ineligible person).6

Once issued, each retail dealer license shall be valid for three years.7

New Jersey also subjects all licensees to the following conditions:8

  • The business shall be carried on only in the building or buildings designated in the license;
  • The license or a certified copy shall be displayed at all times in a “conspicuous place” on the business premises where it can be easily read;
  • No firearm, imitation firearm or ammunition shall be placed in a window or any place else where it can be readily seen from the outside;
  • No rifle or shotgun shall be delivered to any person unless the person presents a valid FPIC, along with a signed certification including the purchaser’s name, permanent address, and FPIC number (the certification shall be retained by the dealer and made available for inspection at any reasonable time); and
  • No handgun shall be delivered to any person unless:

o The transferee presents a valid permit to purchase a handgun, and at least seven days have elapsed since the date of application for the permit;

o The person is personally known to the seller or presents evidence of identity;

o The handgun is unloaded and securely wrapped;

o Except in the case of personalized handguns, the handgun is accompanied by a trigger lock or a locked case, gun box, container or other secure facility; and

o Six months following the date on which the list of personalized handguns is established,9 the handgun is identified as a personalized handgun and included on that list.

In addition, retail dealers must also meet local zoning requirements as a condition to issuance of a dealer license.10

Retail dealers have an obligation to keep a register of every handgun transferred, and must note whether a locking device was delivered with the handgun.11 The register shall include the date and time of transfer; the name, age, date of birth, complexion, occupation, residence and physical description of the purchaser; the name and permanent home address of the person making the transfer; the place of the transaction; and the make, model, manufacturer’s number and caliber of the handgun.12 Copies of the register must be delivered to local law enforcement (or the county clerk) and the NJSP within five days.13

Retail dealers are required to install a system “for the prevention and detection of the theft of firearms or ammunition from” his or her business premises.14 The dealer must submit his or her planned security system to the NJSP for approval.15 In addition, dealers must implement internal security and safe storage measures for all firearms and ammunition within the business premises.16

New Jersey also requires gun dealers to post certain warnings regarding safe firearm storage and the state’s “KeepSafe” trigger lock rebate program.  See the New Jersey Child Access Prevention and New Jersey Locking Devices sections for more information.

For additional laws applicable to both licensed and private firearm sellers (including pawnbrokers), see the section entitled Private Sales in New Jersey.

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a, N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-3.2. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a, N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-3.3, 13:54-3.4, and 13:54-3.7. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a. ⤴︎
  4. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2 and N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-3.3, 13:54-3.4, and 13:54-3.7 for these standards and qualifications. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a(1)-(5); N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-3.9. ⤴︎
  9. See the Personalized & Owner-Authorized Firearms in New Jersey section for further information. ⤴︎
  10. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-3.4(f). ⤴︎
  11. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a(6). ⤴︎
  12. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2b. ⤴︎
  13. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2e. ⤴︎
  14. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-3.11. ⤴︎
  15. N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-6.2 – 13:54-6.4. ⤴︎
  16. See N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-6.5 for details. ⤴︎