Ammunition Regulation in New Jersey

Persons Prohibited from Purchasing/Possessing Ammunition

In 2019, New Jersey amended the law prohibiting certain categories of individuals from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling firearms to also include ammunition. For a list of individuals prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition in New Jersey, see Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey.

In order to sell, transfer, purchase or otherwise acquire any handgun ammunition in New Jersey, the transferee must be a licensed gun dealer, wholesaler or manufacturer, or possess a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card, a permit to purchase a handgun, or a permit to carry a handgun.1

Handgun ammunition may be transferred for lawful use in certain narrow circumstances.2 In addition, the sale of a “de minimis” amount of handgun ammunition for immediate use at a firearm range is permitted if the range is operated by a: 1) licensed firearms dealer; 2) law enforcement agency; 3) legally recognized military organization; or 4) rifle or pistol club which has filed a copy of its charter with the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.3

Ammunition Seller Record-keeping

Retail sellers of firearm ammunition are required to maintain a permanent record of ammunition acquisition and disposition.4 Acquisition records must be kept at the business location and record the name of the manufacturer, the type, caliber or gauge, quantity of the ammunition acquired, the date of each acquisition and person from whom the ammunition was acquired. Disposition records must be in bound form and contain the date of the transaction, name of manufacturer, caliber or gauge, quantity of ammunition sold, name, address and date of birth of purchaser, and identification used to establish the identity of the purchaser. Sellers must record sales or other dispositions of handgun ammunition and ammunition that may be interchangeable between rifles and handguns, as well as hollow-nosed or dum-dum ammunition.5

Minimum Age to Purchase/Possess

New Jersey prohibits any person from selling, giving, transferring, assigning or otherwise disposing of handgun ammunition to a person under age 21.6

Regulation of Unreasonably Dangerous Ammunition

New Jersey generally prohibits any person from knowingly possessing, manufacturing, transporting, shipping, selling, or disposing armor piercing ammunition.7

New Jersey also prohibits the knowing possession of any hollow nose or dum-dum bullet.8 Hollow nose and dum-dum are terms associated with bullets designed to expand on impact. These terms are not specifically defined under New Jersey law.

The federal prohibition on certain kinds of armor-piercing ammunition also applies.

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.3b. ⤴︎
  2. Pursuant to N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.3f, ammunition may be transferred for use in a lawfully transferred firearm for: 1) temporary transfers for use at firing ranges under the direct supervision of the lawful owner of the firearm or a dealer or instructor (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.1); 2) temporary transfers of a firearm for training purposes only (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.2); or 3) limited exceptions to the ban on possession of firearms by minors (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-6.1). ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.3g. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-3.14(b). ⤴︎
  5. Id.. ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.3c. ⤴︎
  7. Amor piercing ammunition is defined as (1) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and is constructed entirely, excluding the presence of traces of other substances, from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (2) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile. Armor piercing ammunition shall not include shotgun shot required by federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the United States Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the United States Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil gas well perforating device.N.J. Stat. Ann. § N.J.S.2C:39-1(gg); N.J. Stat. Ann. §§2C:39-3(f), C:39-9f(1). See also N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-3.14(d), which prohibits any person from selling, giving, transferring, assigning or otherwise disposing of “body armor penetrating bullets” to persons other than certain federally-licensed collectors of firearms and ammunition, the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, law enforcement agencies and licensed firearms dealers. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-3f. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in New Jersey

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:39-1(w)(1), (2). ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1(w)(3). ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1(w)(4). ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1(w)(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. ⤴︎

Background Check Procedures in New Jersey

See our Background Check Procedures policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

New Jersey is characterized as a full point-of-contact state for NICS. The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) serves as state points of contact for implementation of the Brady Act.1

In addition to the background check requirement at the point of sale, all firearm purchasers must have either: 1) a permit to purchase a handgun, allowing the purchase of one handgun per permit;2 or 2) a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC), allowing unlimited rifle and shotgun purchases.3

Applications to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC must be processed through NJSP or local law enforcement, which in turn use NICS and other state and local records to verify that prospective purchasers are not prohibited from possessing a firearm prior to the issuance of a permit to purchase or FPIC. For more detail on the permit to purchase and FPIC requirements, see the New Jersey Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section.

 

Notes
  1. N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-3.12, 13:54-3.13(a)(6). Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Sept. 5, 2011). ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(a). ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3a, 3b, 3f; N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(b). ⤴︎

Bulk Gun Purchases in New Jersey

New Jersey prohibits licensed retail firearms dealers from knowingly delivering more than one handgun to any person within any 30-day period.1 Moreover, a person may purchase no more than one handgun within any 30-day period.2

See our Bulk Gun Purchases policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a(7). ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3i. The Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police may grant an exemption from this purchaser restriction if the applicant satisfactorily demonstrates that he or she: 1) obtained the handguns through inheritance or intestacy; 2) is a demonstrated collector of handguns; or 3) participates in handgun shooting competitions and needs multiple handguns for such competitive activities. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.4a. ⤴︎

Categories of Prohibited People in New Jersey

See our Categories of Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

New Jersey prohibits the following individuals from possessing firearms and, as of 2019, ammunition:

  • Any person convicted of a “crime,” or attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime, of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, carjacking, gang criminality, racketeering, terroristic threats, unlawful possession of a machine gun, unlawful possession of a handgun, unlawful possession of an assault firearm, leading a firearms trafficking network, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, domestic violence, or certain weapons-related offenses;1
  • Any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium unless he or she possesses a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that he is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes with or handicaps him in the handling of a firearm;2
  • Any person convicted of the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance unless the offense was classified as a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense;
  • Any person convicted of a disorderly persons offense of domestic violence;3
  • Any person who is subject to a domestic violence restraining order, or an ex parte order that specifically prohibits the possession of firearms;4 or
  • Any person convicted in another U.S. or foreign jurisdiction of a crime comparable to a crime listed above.5

In New Jersey, all prospective firearm purchasers must obtain either a permit to purchase a handgun (one handgun purchase per permit),6 or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) (one card allows unlimited rifle and shotgun purchases),7 from local law enforcement or the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) prior to buying a firearm.8 New Jersey has adopted many classes of prohibited persons that cannot obtain permits or FPICs, incorporating some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses.

No permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC shall be issued to any person who:9

  • Has been “convicted of any crime” (under New Jersey law, a crime is an offense “for which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized);”10
  • Has been convicted of a “disorderly persons offense” involving an act of domestic violence,11 whether or not the person was armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of the offense;
  • Is “drug dependent;”12
  • Is a “habitual drunkard;”
  • Is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium;
  • Has ever been confined for a mental disorder, is an alcoholic, or suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him or her to handle firearms, unless the person can provide “satisfactory proof” that he or she is no longer suffering from that particular disability in a manner that would interfere with his or her handling of firearms;13
  • Refuses to waive statutory or other rights of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement;14
  • Knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or FPIC;
  • Is under 18 years of age for a FPIC;
  • Is under 21 years of age for a permit to purchase a handgun;
  • Is subject to a restraining order prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm;15
  • Has had his or her firearm seized by law enforcement for a domestic violence offense and whose firearm has not been returned;
  • As a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device or is listed in New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2C:43-7.2d; or
  • Is named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Finally, no permit to purchase or FPIC shall be issued where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare.16 In addition, an applicant must be of “good character and good repute in the community” in which he or she lives.17

For more detail on the permit to purchase a handgun and FPIC requirements, see the New Jersey Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section.

 

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7. An offense under New Jersey law only constitutes a “crime” if a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized. N.J. Stat. § 2C:1-4. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7(a). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29(b); 2C:58-3c(6). ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7. ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(a). ⤴︎
  7. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(b). ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3a, 3b. ⤴︎
  9. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c, N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.5. ⤴︎
  10. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:1-4. ⤴︎
  11. See the Domestic Violence & Firearms in New Jersey section for further information. ⤴︎
  12. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 24:21-2 for the definition of “drug dependent.” ⤴︎
  13. See N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.6. ⤴︎
  14. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3e. ⤴︎
  15. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29b. ⤴︎
  16. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(5). ⤴︎
  17. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c. A FPIC is valid so long as the holder is permitted to possess a firearm. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f. A permit to purchase a handgun is valid for 90 days, and may be renewed for good cause for an additional 90 day period. Id. ⤴︎

Child Access Prevention in New Jersey

New Jersey provides that “[a] person who knows or reasonably should know that a minor [under 16 years of age]1 is likely to gain access to a loaded firearm at a premises under the person’s control” is criminally liable for a misdemeanor if a minor gains access to a firearm, unless the person:

  • Stores the firearm in a securely locked box or container;
  • Stores the firearm in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or
  • Secures the firearm with a trigger lock.2

This section does not apply to activities concerning the lawful use of a firearm by a minor (see the section entitled Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in New Jersey), or where a minor obtained a firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.3

New Jersey requires firearm dealers to give all firearm transferees the following written warning, printed in block letters not less than one-fourth of an inch in height: “IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, PUNISHABLE BY A FINE AND IMPRISONMENT, FOR AN ADULT TO LEAVE A LOADED FIREARM WITHIN EASY ACCESS OF A MINOR.”4 Dealers also must post a truncated version of this warning “conspicuously” at each purchase counter, printed in block letters not less than one inch in height.5

New Jersey imposes harsh penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison term of three years without parole, on any person who knowingly sells, gives, transfers, assigns or otherwise disposes of a firearm to a person under age 18.6

For other measures related to child access prevention, see the section entitled Locking Devices in New Jersey.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-15c. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-15a. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-15b. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-16a. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-16b. ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-10e. ⤴︎

Concealed Carry in New Jersey

See our Concealed Carry policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

New Jersey generally prohibits the knowing possession of a handgun in any place other than one’s own property or place of business without a permit to carry a handgun.1

New Jersey is a “may issue” state, meaning that the chief police officer of a locality (city or county in which the applicant resides) or the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) has discretion in determining whether or not to issue a concealed weapons permit to an applicant.

New Jersey requires any person seeking to carry a handgun to apply for a permit through the NJSP or local law enforcement.2 Among other requirements, the application must be endorsed by “three reputable persons” who have known the applicant for at least three years and who certify that the applicant is “of good moral character and behavior.”3 Moreover, no application shall be approved unless the applicant demonstrates that he or she:4

  • Is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth under state law to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card;5
  • Is thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns; and
  • Has a justifiable need to carry a handgun.

Each application form shall also be accompanied by a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun, under oath, that specifies 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.6 Where possible, the applicant shall corroborate the existence of any specific threats or previous attacks by reference to reports of such incidents to law enforcement.7

Following approval by the NJSP or local law enforcement, the applicant must present his or her application to the superior court in the county in which the applicant resides.8 The superior court must be equally satisfied the applicant meets the requirements to carry a handgun before it will issue a permit.9

Firearm Safety Training

New Jersey requires that applicants for a permit to carry a handgun demonstrate a “thorough familiarity” with the safe handling and use of handguns, as evidenced by:10

  • Completion of a firearms training course substantially equivalent to the firearms training approved by the Police Training Commission;11
  • Submission of the applicant’s most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings, administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified firearms instructor; or
  • Passage of any test of New Jersey’s laws governing the use of force, administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified instructor.

Duration & Renewal

In New Jersey, permits to carry handguns expire two years from the date of issuance.12 Permits may be renewed for two-year periods in the same manner, and subject to the same conditions, as original applications.13

Disclosure or Use of Information

New Jersey does not allow personal application or permit information regarding concealed weapons permit holders to be made public. Any background investigation of an applicant for a permit to carry a handgun is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized to have access to such information.14 Any application materials, document reflecting the issuance or denial of a permit, or permit maintained by any state or municipal governmental agency is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized by law to have access to the documentation, except for persons acting in their governmental capacities for purposes of the administration of justice.15

Reciprocity

Non-residents of New Jersey who wish to carry a handgun in the state must obtain a permit to carry a handgun from NJSP under the same process as New Jersey residents.16

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:39-5b, 2C:39-6e. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4b. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4c. Applicants must also submit fingerprints to facilitate the background check. Id. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c. See the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey. ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4; N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-2.4(d)(1). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4d. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-2.4(b). ⤴︎
  11. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-6j. ⤴︎
  12. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4a. ⤴︎
  13. Id. ⤴︎
  14. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.15. ⤴︎
  15. Id. For information limiting access to and use of criminal history record information that is utilized for purposes other than criminal justice, see N.J. Admin. Code § 13:59-1.6. ⤴︎
  16. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards in New Jersey

New Jersey does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), New Jersey’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 56:8-2, 56:8-4.  For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in New Jersey

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

For information on New Jersey’s extreme risk law, see our page on Extreme Risk Protection Orders in New Jersey.

Disarming Domestic Abusers

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

Persons Reported by Licensed Mental Health Practitioners

Under certain circumstances, licensed mental health practitioners are required to take actions to prevent harm by patients who make specific, credible threats of physical violence against reasonably identifiable persons including notifying law enforcement of the threat. ((N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:62A-16(b).)) Upon receipt of the information, law enforcement shall use that information to ascertain whether the patient has been issued a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or any other permit or license authorizing possession of a firearm. If so, or if there is information indicating that the patient otherwise may have access to a firearm, law enforcement may use the information to determine whether the patient has become subject to a firearms prohibition. See Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey to learn more about which categories of people are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms in New Jersey.

If law enforcement determines that the patient is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, any identification card or permit issued to the patient shall be void and subject to revocation by the Superior Court. If the court confirms that the patient is prohibited from possessing firearms and revokes the patient’s firearms identification card, the court may order the patient to surrender to the county prosecutor any firearm owned by or accessible to the patient and order the prosecutor to dispose of the firearms.6

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-27(c)(1), effective August 1, 2017. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28(j), effective August 1, 2017; 2C:25-29(b), effective August 1, 2017. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(8). ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:62A-16(e). ⤴︎

Domestic Violence & Firearms in New Jersey

See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants

New Jersey prohibits the purchase, ownership, possession or control of a firearm by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses.1 The state also authorizes courts to prohibit defendants from purchasing or possessing firearms in cases where the defendant is charged with (but not yet convicted of) a domestic violence crime or offense.2

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

New Jersey allows victims of domestic violence to seek a restraining order against: 1) a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member; 2) a former or current dating partner or anyone with whom the victim has had a romantic relationship; or 3) any person with whom the victim has a child in common or anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant.3

New Jersey prohibits an individual from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a firearm, a permit to purchase a handgun, or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) if he or she is subject to a domestic violence restraining order.4

New Jersey also allows a judge to prohibit the purchase or possession of a firearm by persons subject to ex parte domestic violence protective orders (i.e., orders issued without informing in advance the party to whom the protective order is directed).5

Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

In New Jersey, law enforcement must seize and remove firearms observed at the scene of a domestic violence incident if the law enforcement officer reasonably believes domestic violence has occurred and the weapon would expose the victim to a risk of serious bodily injury.6 An officer must also seize any FPIC or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the person accused of the domestic violence.7

A prosecutor has 45 days from the seizure in which to petition a court to take title of a seized firearm.8 If the prosecutor does not institute an action regarding the firearm within 45 days of seizure, the seized firearm shall be returned to the owner.9 Following a hearing concerning the owner of the seized firearm(s) that finds the weapons should not be returned because the defendant is guilty of the charges, the domestic violence situation persists, or the owner is found to be in a prohibited category under state law,10 the court may order the revocation of the owners FPIC or any permit, license or other authorization to own or possess a firearm, and order the owner to surrender any firearm seized and all other firearms possessed to the prosecutor and order the prosecutor to dispose of the firearms if the owner does not arrange for the sale of the firearm to a registered gun dealer within 60 days of the order.11

Removal or Surrender of Firearms Pursuant to Domestic Violence Convictions or Certain Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

New Jersey requires defendants convicted of a domestic violence crimes to immediately surrender their firearms, firearms purchaser identification cards, and permits to purchase handguns to law enforcement.12 Individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders, or temporary orders in which the judge has prohibited the respondent from possessing firearms, must also surrender their firearms.13 For more information about this process, see Disarming Prohibited Persons in New Jersey.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the New Jersey Background Checks and New Jersey Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

 

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7b(1), (2). State law prohibits the issuance of a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card to any person convicted of “any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving…domestic violence.” N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(1). ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19a; 2C:25-26a. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19d. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29(b); 2C:58-3c(6). ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28f, j; 2C:25-29b. ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(1). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(2), (3). ⤴︎
  9. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(3). ⤴︎
  10. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3, and the New Jersey Prohibited Purchasers Generally section. ⤴︎
  11. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(3)(b). ⤴︎
  12. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-27. ⤴︎
  13. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28(j); 2C:25-29(b). ⤴︎