On December 23, 2002, New Jersey adopted a law that requires personalized handgun technology to be incorporated into all handguns sold in the state within a two to three-year period after the technology is deemed safe and commercially available for retail sale by the state Attorney General.

New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2C:39-1dd defines a “personalized handgun” as:

[A] handgun which incorporates within its design, and as part of its original manufacture, technology which automatically limits its operational use and which cannot be readily deactivated, so that it may only be fired by an authorized or recognized user. The technology limiting the handgun’s operational use may include, but not be limited to: radio frequency tagging, touch memory, remote control, fingerprint, magnetic encoding and other automatic user identification systems utilizing biometric, mechanical or electronic systems. No make or model of a handgun shall be deemed to be a “personalized handgun” unless the Attorney General has determined, through testing or other reasonable means, that the handgun meets any reliability standards that the manufacturer may require for its commercially available handguns that are not personalized or, if the manufacturer has no such reliability standards, the handgun meets the reliability standards generally used in the industry for commercially available handguns.

New Jersey’s Attorney General is required to report to the Governor and the Legislature every six months regarding the availability of personalized handguns for retail sales purposes until the Attorney General deems such firearms technology available for retail sale.1 Personalized handguns will be deemed available for retail sale if at least one manufacturer has delivered at least one production model (a handgun that results from a manufacturing process that produces multiple copies of the same handgun model, but not prototypes) to a registered or licensed wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state.2

Once 23 months have elapsed from the Attorney General’s report announcing that personalized handguns are available for retail sale, the Attorney General must work with the Superintendent of State Police to promulgate a list of personalized handguns that may be sold in New Jersey.3 This process must be initiated following the 23-month period, and must be completed within an additional six months.4 The law allows for the listing of new handguns and the removal of previously authorized firearms from the list, and directs the Attorney General to create a process that will allow manufacturers to submit handguns for testing and authorization for sale. This list must be distributed to all licensed firearms dealers.5

Beginning six months after the date the initial list of approved handguns is completed, no licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or retail firearms dealer, or any of the dealer’s employees or agents, shall transport into New Jersey, sell, expose for sale, possess with the intent of selling, assign or otherwise transfer a handgun unless it is a personalized handgun or an antique handgun.6

Exceptions exist for handguns used by law enforcement or military officers, and for handguns used in competitive shooting matches.7

Licensed firearms dealers or their employees will be prohibited from delivering any handgun to any person on and after the first day of the sixth month following the release date of the initial personalized handgun list,8 unless the handgun is identified as a personalized handgun and included on the state-approved list, or is classified as an antique handgun.9

Within 30 days following the release of the initial personalized handgun list, a seven-member commission within the state Department of Law and Public Safety must be created, which will meet once annually thereafter to determine whether state and local law enforcement should use personalized handguns.10

The adopted text of New Jersey’s personalized guns statutes can be found in its entirety at the New Jersey State Legislature’s website.

See our Personalized & Owner-Authorized policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.3a. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.3b. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.4a. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.4b. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.4b. ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.5a. Antique handguns are defined under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1aa. ⤴︎
  7. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.5b, c. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.4. ⤴︎
  9. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a(5)(e). ⤴︎
  10. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2.5d. ⤴︎