Weapons Offenses

Last updated on January 22, 2024

Who is Prohibited from Buying a Weapon in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, anyone under 18 years old is not allowed to apply for any firearms license. Except for the case of an employment requirement, anyone under 21 years old cannot apply for a handgun permit. The federal law governing who can purchase and possess firearms in the United States is set by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Each state has its own rules and guidelines regarding firearms purchase and possession. If you’re facing charges related to gun possession or have any related questions, it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced New Jersey gun possession lawyer. They can provide you with the necessary legal assistance to navigate your case.

New Jersey’s firearm laws govern who is allowed to legally purchase or own a firearm. A permit is required to buy a handgun in New Jersey. This permits one handgun per permit. The Firearms Purchaser ID Card allows unlimited shotgun and rifle purchases. They must be obtained either from the local police or New Jersey State Police.

Lustberg Law Offices offers a complimentary consultation with New Jersey gun crime defense lawyer Adam M. Lustberg. Knowing how law enforcement obtained the evidence and what defense strategies in beating gun charges may apply if you or someone you love is facing a New Jersey weapon charge is important. We can help you navigate the charges you are facing and your available options. Call us today at (201) 880-5311 to schedule a consultation.

N.J.S. § 2C:58-3 outlines the circumstances under which a person cannot be issued firearms or handgun permits. This section prevents anyone from being issued this identification or permit if they are convicted of any crime, disorderly persons offense, or domestic violence-related offense.

New Jersey law doesn’t classify crimes as felonies. Felonies are generally any offense that can result in a one-year sentence or longer. It doesn’t matter if you have been sentenced to a one-year or longer sentence. What matters is that you are eligible for this sentence. Practically, this means that a conviction for a New Jersey crime of the first, second, third, or fourth degree automatically disqualifies you from applying for a gun permit.

You also cannot obtain a gun permit if you are:

  • Confined in a hospital or mental institution for mental disorders
  • Having a physical condition or disease makes it difficult to use firearms.
  • For firearms, under 18 years old; for handguns, 21 and older
  • A restraining or temporary order may be issued
  • Suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction

It is important to know what your defense options are if you or someone you love faces a New Jersey firearm crime. Lustberg Law Offices offers a complimentary consultation with gun crime lawyer Adam M. Lustberg. They can also discuss the charges you are facing and your options. Call us today at (201) 880-5311 to schedule a consultation. 

New Jersey Gun Permit Application Process

You must obtain the permits to legally purchase and possess firearms in New Jersey, despite the stringent gun laws. If you fail to apply, serious criminal charges could be brought against you.

There are two kinds of permits available if you want to buy a gun in New Jersey: The Firearms Purchaser Card and the Permit to purchase a handgun. 

In order to apply for either permit, you must submit your application to the chief of police of your municipality. If you are located in New Jersey you may submit the application to the Superintendent of New Jersey State Police. You must submit your application with a government-issued photo ID and two references that attest to your mental health. 

New Jersey gun crime attorney

The police will conduct a background check on your application with the FBI and state police. They will also perform a search for mental health records (for which you need to give written consent) and fingerprint checks (for which two copies must be provided). They will then have 60 days to respond to your request. If you do not receive a response within this time, your application will be considered approved.

New Jersey lawyers at Lustberg Law Offices are able to provide you with an effective and strategic defense against any mandatory punishment under New Jersey weapons charges. The combined legal experience of our team includes defending New Jersey residents, even in cases that involve unlawful possession of weapons or other weapons.

A warrant for arrest marks the start of a legal proceeding that doesn’t have to lead to a guilty verdict. You can have a defense that makes you feel optimistic. For a confidential consultation, call us at (201) 880-5311 to speak with an attorney.

What Disqualifies You From Owning a Gun in NJ?

New Jersey has implemented strict gun laws that effectively restrict the possession of guns and ammunition by many individuals. Violating these laws constitutes a separate criminal offense and can lead to severe penalties and charges.

According to N.J.S. § 2C:39-7, specific individuals are prohibited from possessing weapons or ammunition within the state of New Jersey. This statute outlines a range of serious criminal offenses, as well as attempts or conspiracies to commit these crimes, which permanently disqualify individuals from possessing firearms or ammunition. The offenses encompass various crimes, including aggravated assault, kidnapping, and robbery.

This section bans individuals who have been convicted of unlawfully using, possessing, or selling a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling firearms or ammunition. This prohibition also extends to those convicted of attempting or conspiring to commit this offense.

The law also prohibits individuals who have been previously committed to a hospital, mental institution, or sanitarium due to a mental disorder from possessing guns or ammunition. However, under certain circumstances, they may regain their firearm privileges by obtaining a certificate from a licensed medical doctor or psychiatrist in New Jersey, or other evidence showing that they no longer suffer from a mental disorder that impairs their ability to handle firearms.

Lastly, the law makes it illegal for individuals who have been convicted of a crime related to domestic violence, even disorderly persons offenses, to possess firearms or ammunition. This restriction applies even if the original crime did not involve the use or possession of a firearm. Consequently, certain convictions that would not typically hinder firearm possession could have that effect if the crime involved a specific relationship with the victim. For instance, a simple assault conviction against a stranger would not impact gun rights, but the same conviction against a spouse would result in a loss of gun rights.

Discovering your eligibility for gun ownership in New Jersey is crucial to ensure compliance with state laws. If you have any uncertainty about the disqualifications before owning a gun in New Jersey, it is vital to seek advice from a skilled New Jersey gun possession lawyer from Lustberg Law Offices. Our lawyers can guide you through the intricacies of firearm regulations, safeguard your rights, and provide representation if needed. Schedule a consultation with us and let us assist you in navigating the complexities of gun ownership in New Jersey.

Disqualifying Criteria Prohibited Individuals
Conviction of Serious Criminal Offenses Individuals convicted of crimes like aggravated assault, kidnapping, and robbery.
Unlawful Use, Possession, or Sale of CDS Individuals convicted of unlawfully using, possessing, or selling a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).
Previous Mental Health Commitment Individuals previously committed to a hospital, mental institution, or sanitarium due to a mental disorder.
Conviction Related to Domestic Violence Individuals convicted of a crime related to domestic violence, including disorderly persons offenses.

New Jersey Graves Act: Mandatory Weapons Sentencing

New Jersey has two mandatory sentencing statutes that are applicable to gun or weapons convictions: the Graves Act and the No Early Release Act (NERA). These laws are intended to make sure that defendants convicted serve sentences issued by the local Superior Courts.

The Graves Act codified as N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c) requires that a convicted person will be sentenced to prison with no eligibility for parole. The period of parole ineligibility for a first offense will be one-third to one-half of the full sentence, or 3 years, whichever is higher. For a second or subsequent firearms offense, the parole ineligibility is five years. A fourth-degree conviction means that the sentence must be completed in full.

If the court determines that the crime and/or defendant were connected with organized crime, a conviction for unlawfully possessing a handgun, machine gun, or assault rifle will result in the ineligibility of parole for five years.

A mandatory extension of prison must be imposed on anyone convicted under the Graves Act after they have already been convicted for firearms offenses. An extended sentence will include the ineligibility to parole for one-third to one-half of the sentence or five years, depending on which is higher.

Federal vs. State Laws Firearm Prohibition 

The intricate firearm regulations in the United States have a foundational layer set by federal law, primarily guided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Federal statutes delineate basic restrictions, such as prohibiting firearm possession to those convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors related to domestic violence, or those under specific court orders. However, these regulations provide just the groundwork upon which states can build more stringent laws.

New Jersey exemplifies a state that has taken the federal baseline and expanded upon it with a comprehensive set of prohibitions. The state’s laws go further in detailing who may not possess firearms and ammunition, including individuals with a variety of convictions ranging from aggravated assault to weapons-related offenses. The inclusion of ammunition in the prohibition list is a significant addition, emphasizing New Jersey’s rigorous approach to firearm control.

Moreover, New Jersey mandates that individuals obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) for rifles and shotguns, with specific disqualifications laid out for each. For instance, no permit or FPIC can be issued to those with substance abuse issues, those involuntarily committed due to mental disorders, or individuals under restraining orders that explicitly prohibit firearm possession.

These state-specific restrictions demonstrate New Jersey’s commitment to mitigating the risks of gun violence beyond federal standards. The state not only adopts federal prohibitions as offenses within its jurisdiction but also identifies additional classes of prohibited persons, underscoring a proactive stance on public safety.

Where federal law leaves gaps, New Jersey steps in, exemplifying how state legislation can address local concerns and provide a model for others aiming to tighten firearm regulations. It’s a testament to the layered nature of legal governance in the U.S. and the importance of understanding both federal and state laws for those navigating the complexities of firearm possession, especially when seeking legal assistance in gun possession cases.

Penalties for Weapon Possession Charges in New Jersey

New Jersey has severe penalties for weapons offenses, and the degree of the crime depends on several factors. However, the penalties are usually more severe if dangerous weapons, like firearms, were involved and used to commit a crime.

In the state of New Jersey, carrying a handgun without a valid permit is considered a serious offense, classified as a second-degree crime, and carries a maximum punishment of ten years in a state prison. Possessing a machine gun or a device that can be adapted as one, without a license, is also a second-degree crime that could result in up to ten years in prison. Possessing any other weapon, excluding firearms, for an unlawful purpose is a third-degree crime that could lead to up to five years in prison. 

Fourth-degree charges could also be given to people who knowingly and illegally possess weapons such as stun guns, sand clubs, stiletto knives, or metal knuckles. Nonetheless, under the criminal statute, the accused individual must have held the object in a manner that is not clearly suitable for lawful purposes. The specific use of the weapon will often be decided by the judge or jury. For example, a person who possessed handcuffs for use in a play would not be charged with a crime.

Getting the Help of a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Lustberg Law Offices’ gun crime lawyer Adam M. Lustberg and his team of highly skilled lawyers have more than seventeen years of experience in representing individuals charged with gun or weapons offenses in New Jersey. Our firm provides aggressive legal defense, and we work with the courts and prosecutors to minimize any negative impact on your life. You can be confident that you will face the charges with our experienced team of New Jersey attorneys on your side. For a free consultation, contact us at (201) 880 5311.

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