In New Jersey, some 1.5 million people live in homes with guns.
Of course, this fact doesn't constitute any issue in and of itself — if those guns are used and stored safely.
While most gun owners store their firearms unloaded and locked away, this isn't always the case. A new report from Rutgers notes that New Jersey guns aren't always stored with impeccable levels of safety. The report found that about 15% of gun owners store them unlocked, 20% store guns already loaded, and 10% keep their firearms in their vehicles.
It's easy to understand why. In an emergency, pausing to fiddle with locks and boxes of ammunition can shave valuable time off a gun owner's ability to act.
However, these gun storage practices have their risks. Improper storage can lead to an increased risk of death by suicide (or by accident), more use of firearms by children, and higher rates of firearm theft.
NJ Law, Gun Storage Safety, and You
A bill establishing regulations for firearm storage has been introduced in New Jersey State Legislature but has yet to pass or fail.
This means there may not be a standardized reference for proper gun storage methods in The Garden State.
New Jersey Law does have the following to say:
- New Jersey state law does not expressly prohibit the open carry of firearms, but people who do so will need a permit.
- New Jersey state law only considers concealed carry legal if the carrier holds a permit.
- In New Jersey, you can have a legally-owned firearm in your car, but only if you follow the rules for adequately transporting a gun. These rules include having the proper permit, keeping the unloaded gun in a closed case, and ensuring the gun isn't directly accessible from the front seat.
- While New Jersey state law doesn't have specific regulations for unattended guns, it does have a Child Access Protection law. Under this law, gun owners who are reasonably aware that a child can access their firearm must take due precautions (like keeping the gun in a locked container).
Until further gun storage information comes into focus, gun owners in New Jersey should know how to protect themselves and their families in an unsafe situation.
For example, if your gun gets used by a child or someone else in a crime, you may be partially liable. Or, at least, you'll probably be involved in a way that won't be helpful for your reputation (and your stress levels).
Contact a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help Today
You may not know where to turn if you're facing the stressful specter of a criminal firearms charge. Whether you or someone you love threatened another or was responsible for dangerous gun use, you should know that you could face steep penalties.
Seeking the skilled counsel of an NJ attorney with specific knowledge in this area is critical. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you navigate local laws, determine your best steps forward, compile a strong defense, and more. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento at 888.535.3686 or contact the Lento Law Firm online for more information.