In recent years, gun laws have become more and more hotly debated. Understanding the gun laws in your area is important, whether you want to own or use a gun or not. New Jersey has restrictive gun laws compared to many other states, and bans particular types of weapons from regular ownership. One area where New Jersey’s laws differ from many other states is on the issue of open carry and gun licensing. If you or a loved one was charged with a gun possession crime in South Jersey, talk to the Atlantic City gun crime lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Otherwise, the following information on New Jersey’s open carry policies may help you understand some of New Jersey’s firearms rules.
Can You Open or Conceal Carry a Gun in New Jersey?
New Jersey requires gun owners to get a permit before they can purchase or own a gun in the state. This means you can certainly get in trouble for owning a gun without a permit, such as a gun bought out of state or from a friend. This permit is often called a Firearms ID Card or “FID” card. As long as you have no reason you should not be able to own a gun, the government “shall issue” you a firearms ID card, giving you the ability to legally purchase a gun. However, New Jersey officials are usually strict on this point, and may deny gun permits.
As far as carrying a gun, you need a separate license. Having a gun stored safely in your home for home defense is usually okay, but taking the gun anywhere else requires a permit. Thus, carrying a gun in your car or on your person is not okay without a license to carry. In New Jersey, these licenses “may” be issued. This means the government may deny you a permit to carry a gun you legally own if they think you don’t need to carry it. Without proving a specific, urgent need to protect yourself, these permits are usually denied.
In many states, open carry is allowed without a carry license, and only concealed carry needs a permit. The general theory is an open and visible gun is less dangerous for others and for police – but a concealed weapon is where the true danger lies. In New Jersey, there is no distinction on carry permits; there is only one type of carry permit, which allows you to carry a firearm. There does not appear to be any distinction in the law which states that this weapon must be carried in a concealed manner, and you are equally able to carry the gun openly or concealed with the proper permit.
You could face serious penalties for carrying a gun illegally in Atlantic County, based on how, where, and why you had the weapon.
New Jersey Gun Laws for Transporting a Firearm
If you own a gun, these laws may seem to make it impossible to ever leave your house with a gun. If you are traveling to a shore house, vising the gun range, or even moving homes, these laws may appear to make it illegal to take the gun out of your house. However, there are specific rules in New Jersey that allow you to transport a gun legally.
N.J.S.A. § 2C:39-6(g) lays out the specifics for how to legally transport a gun through New Jersey. In New Jersey, to transport a firearm, it must be:
- Secured in a container, and
- Kept this way the entire journey.
First, the gun must be unloaded. This is not explicitly defined in the statute, but “unloaded” should be taken to mean without any ammunition in the magazine. Some laws define “unloaded” to mean that it needs two actions before firing (thus a gun that has a full magazine inserted but no round chambered may be considered “unloaded”). It is best, and safest, to keep all ammunition and magazines in a separate container when transporting your firearm.
The statute lists multiple options for how to secure the gun in a container. First, a “fastened case” is an option, as is a “gunbox.” These are probably the safest options, as these boxes are designed to protect guns and keep them safe. Alternatively, a “securely tied package” is also sufficient. While this may seem less safe, it should be just as legal as using a gun case. Lastly, simply locking the gun in the trunk of the car should be sufficient. This is clearly the least safe option, but should satisfy the statute’s requirements.
Lastly, the gun should remain locked away and unloaded during the entire trip. Except for “deviations as are reasonably necessary,” such as moving the gun from one car to another, the gun should stay locked away and unloaded.
Atlantic City Gun Possession Lawyers
Though these laws may help you understand the rules for licensing, carry permits, and gun transportation, it is important to understand whether you can legally own a gun in the first place. If you were convicted of a crime, it may be illegal for you to own a gun in New Jersey. Talk to an Atlantic City criminal defense attorney about your ability to own a gun before purchasing one. If you or a loved one has been charged with a gun crime, the Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to help. Call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation on your case.