If you are facing the uphill challenge of crafting a defense in a temporary or a permanent restraining order matter, you may be wondering what impact these orders could potentially have on your life. New Jersey state law takes restraining order matters very seriously, and court orders can have drastic effects on your life, ranging from your child custody rights to your living circumstances and whether you are allowed or will be allowed to possess guns as well as other types of weapons.
Under New Jersey Law, weapons, including firearms, must be seized from the restrained party in both temporary restraining order and permanent restraining order matters.
What Qualifies as a Firearm?
New Jersey Criminal Statutes 2C:39-1(r) describes the various types of weapons that qualify as a firearm. Some types of weapons that count as firearms under the law include:
- Automatic or Semi-Automatic Rifles
- Machine Guns
- And any instrument from which a “solid projectable ball” can be ejected.
Mandatory Forfeiture In Domestic Violence Matters
New Jersey courts commonly issue restraining orders in domestic violence cases to protect alleged victims. Regardless of whether a court issues a temporary or permanent restraining order, mandatory forfeiture of guns as well as other weapons is required. In New Jersey, this is codified in Criminal Statutes 2C: 25-27(c)(1) and is known as an “Order Of Surrender.”
According to New Jersey Criminal Statutes 2C:25-29.1, restrained parties are required to surrender any guns and weapons to firearms dealers and/or law enforcement upon the court's issuance of a temporary restraining order. If the restrained party refuses to comply with orders to surrender their weapons, the court may order a search and seizure of any area that the court has probable cause to believe the weapon(s) may be. Criminal Statutes 2C:-2529b(16) states that the presiding judge must “state with specificity the reasons for the search” as well “the scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.”
In determining whether there is probable cause, New Jersey courts take the following into consideration:
- Has the restrained party committed an act of domestic violence?
- Whether the defendant possesses or has access to a firearm?
- Does the defendant's possession of the weapon pose an increased risk of harm to the plaintiff?
Will a Future Order From the Supreme Court Affect New Jersey Law?
In an article published by PBS in February 2023, “there are at least 50 cases in federal courts challenging gun restrictions.” If these cases proceed to the Supreme Court, the constitutionality of mandatory forfeiture could be challenged. Specifically, if the Court continues to issue rulings in favor of the 2nd Amendment, the Court will have to consider whether such forfeitures are in line with 2nd Amendment Rights as well as Due Process Rights.
New Jersey Criminal Law Attorney
If you are currently fighting a temporary or permanent restraining order and need help navigating the state's complex gun forfeiture laws, the qualified Criminal Defense Team at The Lento Law Firm will help protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair and equal treatment throughout your defense. Restraining orders can have far-reaching consequences on your life. Don't fight this battle alone. Contact us 24/7 by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.