Firearm and Weapons Charges in New Jersey

According to the National Rifle Association, New Jersey is considered to have “highly restrictive firearms laws” in place. The debate regarding the rights of citizens under the Second Amendment has been ongoing in the courts. The case of Rogers v. Grewal was recently dismissed by the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. Thomas Rogers is a New Jersey resident that had his request for a permit to possess a firearm denied. The Circuit Court determined that Rogers did not have a “justifiable need” for a gun permit. Applicants for a gun permit must provide evidence that the weapon is necessary for their protection. This evaluation is made by the chief of police of each local municipality.

Defense Attorney for New Jersey Firearm and Weapons Charges

Attorney Joseph D. Lento is committed to protecting the rights of his clients. Those convicted of a firearm or weapons-related charge may face harsh penalties. For aggressive legal representation contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.

Possessing or Transporting Firearms

The state prohibits the possession or transport of a shotgun or rifle unless you have a valid firearms purchaser identification card (FPIC). To possess or transport a handgun, a valid New Jersey handgun permit is required. Those in possession of a firearm passing through the state must do so according to federal law 18 U.S. Code § 926A. These provisions require that the firearm is unloaded and not be “readily accessible” from the passenger area of the vehicle.

Procedures and Grounds for Law Enforcement on Firearm Possession or Transportation

Does law enforcement have a right to inquire or search for a firearm? An officer of law enforcement may inquire whether an individual is in possession of a firearm when they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe so. The officer in New Jersey may proceed to determine whether possession of the firearm is in accordance with federal requirements. If the officer has “probable cause” to believe that the individual's possession violates the law they may place them under arrest.

Presumptions for Firearm or Weapon in a Vehicle (2C: 39-2)

The law states that a firearm or weapon in a vehicle is presumed to be in the possession of the vehicle occupant(s) unless:

  • When found specifically in the possession of one vehicle occupant it assumed to be the possession of that individual alone
  • If the weapon is found in a trunk or compartment, it is presumed to be possessed by the owner or authorized vehicle operator
  • When a firearm is found in the passenger area of a taxi or ride-share vehicle it is assumed to be in the possession of the passenger

Weapon Possession for Criminal Purposes (2C:39-4)

Those found to possess a firearm, explosives, or destructive devices for unlawful actions are charged with a crime of the second-degree. Anyone possessing a “community gun”, or one used by multiple parties for criminal acts, face charges of the second-degree and a minimum three-year prison sentence. Possession of “imitation” firearms used for criminal activity is a fourth-degree offense.

Individuals Prohibited from Possessing Weapons (2C:39-7)

The statutory definition of a weapon is anything that can be easily used to create bodily harm or death. Examples include firearms, switchblade knives, bludgeons, tear gas, and more. State laws prohibit certain people from possessing weapons such as:

  • Those convicted of arson, assault, extortion, kidnapping, murder, robbery and other comparable infractions
  • Those found guilty of jeopardizing the welfare of a minor
  • Individuals with psychological conditions who are institutionalized unless permitted by a medical doctor
  • Anyone who has a firearm confiscated under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991

Criteria for Handgun Permit in New Jersey (Admin Code 13:54-2.3)

There are some basic requirements that must be met to receive a handgun permit. The individual must be deemed as having “good character” and free from certain disabilities. The applicant must be familiar with safe firearm usage. This documentation may be in the form of an approved training program, an evaluation by a certified instructor, or by passing a test at a police academy or recognized entity. The application must also contain signatures from three people who have known the applicant for at least three years. The application must be submitted with a document explaining why you need a handgun for protection.

Places Where Guns Are Never Permitted

Weapons all kinds are prohibited on the property of educational locations such as schools and universities regardless of whether the possessor has a valid permit or not. Violators are subject to third-degree charges. This restriction also applies to all casino facilities and includes the casino security staff unless permission is obtained from the State Police.

Local Ordinances Regarding Firearms (NJ Statute: § 40:48-1)

In addition to the many state laws, local municipalities are able to implement and enforce their own ordinances regarding firearms. These laws may not conflict with state provisions and often place greater restrictions on firearm possession. For example, in the City of Camden's Code § 235 it states that firearms are prohibited on public streets or public venues unless they are unloaded and have the firing instrument removed. The law also does not allow anyone to draw or fire a gun or to hunt animals in city limits.

New Unprecedented Law for Firearm Tracing in New Jersey

The state has had a policy in place that all guns associated with a crime are traced back to their manufacturer, distributor, dealer, and purchaser. The Attorney General recently implemented new requirements that all agencies in law enforcement must share this information regardless of the state of origin. This program is in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and seeks to apprehend unlawful buyers and traffickers.

Department of Law and Public Safety
The New Jersey State Police NJSP Firearms Investigation Unit
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0068

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Firearm and Weapons Charges

Charges involving weapons can lead to serious consequences and it is important to retain an experienced defense attorney. This is of particular importance now in New Jersey. The state's gun laws continue to tighten and the penalties increasingly require minimum periods of incarceration. The complexity of these legal concerns is increased as many local cities and municipalities now enhance state laws for their jurisdiction to restrict gun possession. To discuss the details of your case contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today


When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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