Joseph A. Lombardo
Most people are aware of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution which generally gives citizens the right to “keep and bear arms.” However, this does not mean that every person who wants to buy a gun is permitted to do so. Each state is allowed to develop their own regulations for its citizens. The Supreme Court has not explored the contours of the Second Amendment’s protections for possessing firearms outside of the home. New Jersey has garnered a reputation amongst gun enthusiasts for maintaining strict restrictions and regulations for who can own, carry, or purchase of various types of firearms. New Jersey is one of only five states in the country that does not acknowledge a state constitutional right to bear firearms.
Know the Gun Laws in Atlantic County
In Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey, gun laws are strict and sensitive — which means they are easier to break than in states where the relevant regulations are more relaxed. If you are facing allegations of illegal gun possession, from a sentencing standpoint, New Jersey is one of the worst states to be in. Fortunately, the highly skilled and knowledgeable Atlantic City gun possession attorneys at Lombardo Law have 20 years of experience defending individuals standing accused of gun possession offenses. Our legal team is consistently successful in having cases dismissed or acquitted, and in drastically reducing sentences.
Don’t try to tackle the New Jersey legal system on your own. Get an experienced Atlantic City criminal lawyer on your side. Call our offices at (609) 418-4537 to schedule a free and confidential consultation, or submit a request online. Our attorneys are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If necessary, we can make emergency visits to jails and holding centers as well. You have nothing to lose, so contact us today.
Permits and ID Cards Required for Guns in New Jersey
Gun laws in Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey are largely dependent upon the type of gun in question. Major categories include handguns, and shotguns and rifles.
Not everyone is permitted to purchase a gun in New Jersey, and the state places significant restraints upon who can purchase a firearm of any type. New Jersey law also regulates when a person is allowed to purchase a firearm and places time restrictions between purchasing multiple guns. Before anyone can purchase a firearm they need to obtain a firearms purchaser identification card (“FID”). In order to regulate who can purchase a firearm New Jersey law has outlined a process that each purchaser must undergo. To begin the process of obtaining an FID card, the applicant must submit an application to the local police chief. Along with the application the applicant must be fingerprinted, give consent to obtain their mental health records, and provide two references. Before an applicant can be approved for an FID card they must prove that they are a person of “good character and good repute in the community in which [they] live.” Additionally, the applicant must not be subject to any of the disabilities set forth in the law, which include:
- Age (under 18),
- Prior criminal conviction,
- Drug addition,
- Alcohol addiction,
- Mental disease,
- Being subject to a domestic restraining order.
FID cards “shall” be issued by the police chief to qualified applicants within thirty days of submitting the application. Any applicant who is denied an FID card or a purchase permit is entitled to a review by the Superior Court of New Jersey as to why their application was denied. Additionally, an applicant who denied an FID card is entitled to a hearing on that application within thirty days of receipt of the request for review. Regardless of how quickly the handgun purchase permit application is approved, no one may purchase a handgun unless at least seven days have passed since the applicant submitted her permit application (of course, as we note below, processing the application may take up to thirty days, and sometimes longer).
Once the application is granted an FID card it is valid indefinitely unless the holder becomes subject to any of the disqualifying conditions or changes their address. The holder may purchase multiple rifles or shotguns using that FID card.
The process of purchasing a handgun is more restricted under the laws of New Jersey. If a person wants to purchase a handgun, they must submit an application for a handgun purchase permit. If the application is approved the person may only purchase one handgun every thirty days, and must apply for a separate permit for each handgun.
Handguns are legal in New Jersey, however New Jersey gun laws heavily regulate handguns. If a person wants to carry a handgun in public either openly or concealed they must obtain a special carry permit. Additionally, owners must be licensed for gun ownership. Any and all transactions involving handguns, including antique handguns — whether it be buying, selling, giving, receiving, or transferring — are illegal unless the individual involved has a permit. Applications for permits are issued by the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, and can be downloaded on the official website of the Office of the Attorney General.
To be allowed to carry a handgun either openly or concealed, a person must obtain a special carry permit. An applicant may apply for an FID card, a permit to purchase handgun, and a carry permit all in the same day, although each application likely will be processed on a different schedule. Once an application for a carry permit is submitted to the local police chief or superintendent of the State Police, law enforcement officials will have 60 days to review the application and either approve or deny the application. An application may agree to an extension if the local police chief or superintendent of the State police requests one.
While it may be legal to carry a handgun in New Jersey current law reflects a presumptions against issuing a carry permit, making approvals the exception, not the rule. Specifically, the law states that “No application should be approved… unless the applicant demonstrates that [they are] not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in 2C:58-3c, that [they are] thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns and that [they have] a justifiable need to carry a handgun.” Very few applications are granted, and many people are likely discouraged from seeking to obtain a permit because the standard is too high.
Shotguns and Rifles
The laws pertaining to the legality shotguns and rifles are a little different from those pertaining to handguns in that they require not a permit, but an identification card. This card is referred to as a Firearms Purchasers Identification Card (FID) and must be presented whether the shotgun or rifle is a purchase, gift, donation, etc. The official form to apply for an FID card can be downloaded here.
Penalties for Illegal Gun Ownership in New Jersey
New Jersey takes gun laws very seriously, and the penalties for illegal firearms possession reflects that attitude. Under N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:39-5, 2C:58-4, possession of any type of gun for which the owner does not have a permit is classified as a 3rd Degree offense. That means that, if an individual is convicted, they are facing a sentence of three to five years in prison. On top of that, they can also be ordered by the court to pay a whopping fine of up to $15,000.
If you or someone you know is facing charges of illegal gun possession in Atlantic City, Atlantic County, or elsewhere in Southern New Jersey, the penalties can be severe. Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Lombardo Law right away to discuss your legal options.
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