New Jersey Gun Laws
Subject/LawLong gunsHandgunsRelevant statutesNotes
State permit required to purchase?YesYesA lifetime purchaser identification card is required for purchase of rifles and shotguns, as well as for purchases of handgun ammunition. A permit to purchase a handgun, valid for 90 days is required for each handgun purchase. Only one handgun can be purchased within a 30-day period. According to state law, purchase permits/identification cards are supposed to be granted on a Shall-Issue basis, but in practice many issuing authorities require the applicant to justify the need for a firearm before granting approval for the permit/ID card. Some issuing authorities have been known to arbitrarily deny purchase permits and ID cards.
Firearm registration?NoYesThe NJ State Police Firearms Investigation Unit (NJSP FIU) maintains a record of all handgun transfers, except for inherited firearms willed to the transferee, or firearms brought to the state by new residents moving to the state. Firearm registration is voluntary, but since handgun purchase permits are also a form of register, there is de facto mandatory handgun registration for handguns purchased in-state. Purchases by NJ residents must either be from a licensed dealer in NJ or a private individual who is a resident of NJ. In both dealer purchases and private sales, a copy of the purchase permit is sent to the NJSP FIU. A NICS background check at the point of sale is only required for purchases from dealers.
Owner license required?NoNoNo license is required to own any firearm in New Jersey, except an assault firearm or NFA regulated firearms
Permit required for concealed carry?N/AYesN.J. Admin. Code § 13:54New Jersey calls its permit a “permit to carry a handgun” and is a “may-issue” by law for firearm carry, either openly or concealed, but permits are rarely or never granted to the general populace. Permit applicants must “specify 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.” Then it must be approved by both the township’s police chief and a NJ judge, whereas the applicant will not know who denied the $200 application to carry. As a result of this tough standard, New Jersey is effectively a “no issue” state unless one is a retired law enforcement officer or an individual with political connections. Armed security officers and armored car drivers typically get restricted permits limited to carry while on duty only. A letter of need from the security company is required.
Permit required for open carry?NoYesOpen carry is allowed only with a permit to carry a handgun and is generally not practiced except by security officers and others who carry firearms on duty. While it is technically legal to carry long guns with a valid Firearm Purchaser ID card, it is generally frowned upon by law enforcement, except when hunting. One can expect to be detained and questioned in most places if carrying in this manner.
State preemption of local restrictions?NoNoThere is limited state preemption for some firearm laws.
Assault weapon law?YesYesN.J.S.A 2C:39-1[117]New Jersey prohibits the possession of certain named firearms or “substantially identical” firearms deemed to be assault firearms, including possession of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled. Firearms classed as assault firearms but acquired before May 1, 1990 and registered with the state are legal to possess. Police officers may possess assault weapons for duty purposes and may possess personal assault weapons with recommendation by their agency.
Magazine capacity restriction?YesYesMagazines are limited to 10 rounds for semi-automatic pistols and rifles, and 6 rounds for semi-automatic shotguns.
NFA weapons restricted?YesYesN.J.S.A 2C:39-3(a-c)[118]; N.J.S.A 2C:58-5[119]Possession of short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, destructive devices, and suppressors are prohibited to the average citizen. Law is silent on AOWs. Possession of a machine gun requires a state license, which is granted on a may issue basis by a county superior court judge. Machine gun licenses are extremely difficult to obtain.
Background checks required for private sales?YesYesPrivate firearm sales require a background check conducted through a federally licensed gun dealer.
Red flag law?YesYesA judge may issue a gun violence restraining order authorizing the police to confiscate a person’s firearms if the judge determines that the person poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself or others. In recent practice, New Jersey has extended that petition to anyone to Red Flag a gun owner.


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