Domestic Violence & Firearms
In early 2017, New Jersey enacted a law that requires certain domestic abusers to surrender their firearms and permits. As of August 1, 2017, individuals convicted of a crime or offense involving domestic violence will be required to arrange for the immediate surrender to a law enforcement officer of any firearm that has not already been seized or surrendered and any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun possessed by the defendant. Within five days of the conviction order, the defendant may arrange to sell any surrendered firearm to a licensed firearms dealer. Within ten days of the entry of the order, the dealer must take possession of that purchased firearm from the law enforcement agency to which the firearms were surrendered. Upon conviction, any card or permit issued to the defendant shall be deemed immediately revoked.
A law enforcement officer accepting a surrendered firearm shall provide the defendant with a receipt, and the defendant must provide a copy of the receipt to the prosecuting attorney within 48 hours of service of the order. The defendant must also attest under penalty of perjury that any firearms he or she owned or possessed at the time of the order have been transferred and that the defendant currently does not possess any firearms. The defendant alternatively may attest under penalty that he did not own or possess a firearm at the time of the order and currently does not possess a firearm. If the court, upon motion of the prosecutor, finds probable cause that the defendant has failed to surrender any firearm, card, or permit, the court may order a search for and removal of these items at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe these items are located.1
The 2017 law also creates a process for disarming people subject to domestic violence restraining orders. As of August 1, 2017, individuals subject to temporary restraining orders that specifically prohibit the respondent from possessing firearms, or restraining orders issued after a hearing on the merits, must dispose of their firearms according to the following procedures: A law enforcement officer shall accompany the individual, or proceed without the individual if necessary, to any place where he or she stores firearms. The officer shall take custody of the firearms.2
Any person whose firearm has been seized and not returned will be denied any permit to purchase a handgun or Firearms Purchaser Identification Card.3
Ineligible Firearms Purchaser Identification Card Holders
A Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) is valid for the purchase of multiple long guns until a holder becomes subject to any of the prohibited categories under New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2C:58-3c.4 If an FPIC holder becomes ineligible, his or her FPIC automatically becomes void and the holder must return it within five days to the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. Failure to return the FPIC in this manner subjects the ineligible holder to criminal liability. Moreover, an FPIC may be revoked by the Superior Court of the county where it was issued, after notice and a hearing, if the court finds the holder ineligible to purchase or possess firearms. The county prosecutor of any county, the chief police officer of any municipality, or any citizen may apply to the court for revocation of a FPIC.5