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New Jersey Gun Rights

An Overview of Gun Laws in New Jersey

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Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

No. New Jersey is one of just five  U.S. states without a constitutional amendment affirming the gun rights of its residents.

Concealed Carry

New Jersey is a may-issue state, meaning that authorities are not bound by law to issue a concealed carry permit to qualified applicants. In fact, New Jersey restricts the issuance of permits more than most states. Courts have upheld those tight standards, saying the state has a right to issue permits only to those who work in security or to those who “can establish an urgent necessity for carrying guns for self-protection.”

In addition to establishing a need to carry, applicants for a concealed carry permit must demonstrate a familiarity with firearms and provide three references who have personally known the applicant for at least three years. Application is made through local police departments and the permits are issued by a state superior court judge. Permits are valid for two years at a cost of $20. If permits are going to be issued, they will be issued within 60 days from when the application was filed.

New Jersey’s concealed carry permits are honored by the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

New Jersey does not honor permits from any other state.

Castle Doctrine

New Jersey has a self-defense law based on the castle doctrine. It allows for the use of deadly force within one’s home and wherever the person has a right to be. Outside the home, however, victims have a duty to retreat if they can avoid the use of deadly force in safety.

Pro-Gun Provisions

With the exception of a law protecting gun ranges, New Jersey has no implicit pro-gun provisions on the books. Open carry is not permissible without a carry permit, and issuance of carry permits is discretionary.

Restrictions

Gun bans: New Jersey bans the possession of assault weapons. All assault weapons must have been registered with the state by 1991 in order to be legally owned.

Waiting periods for gun purchases: No.

License or permit to purchase guns: A firearms identification card (FID) is required to purchase any gun in New Jersey. For the purposes of the FID, New Jersey is considered “shall-issue,” meaning that qualified applicants must be issued a card. The permit is issued within 30 days, except to persons who are banned from owning guns under federal or state law. In addition to the typical list of prohibited persons, such as convicted felons and fugitives from justice, New Jersey does not issue FIDs to anyone who has been convicted of certain drug-related crimes or to anyone who is addicted to drugs. Permits are issued within 30 days and can be used to purchase an unlimited number or long guns. For handguns, a purchase permit is required. It is issued within 30 days and is valid for 90 days, and may be used to purchase one handgun.

Registration of guns: Assault weapons must be registered. No assault weapons have been registered since the state’s assault weapons ban took effect in 1991.

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