Gun control is a controversial and hotly-debated issue in today’s political landscape. Some states are known for their lenient gun laws, while others (like New Jersey) impose extremely rigid rules for getting licensed and registered. As you might imagine, these discrepancies can create serious legal problems for people who bring their weapons across state lines. In this article, our criminal defense lawyers will explain which states do (and don’t) honor reciprocity agreements with New Jersey, including some specific places where guns are prohibited even if you have a license.
Which States Honor Concealed Carry Permits Issued in New Jersey?
In July of 2014, 27-year-old Philadelphia resident Shaneen Allen was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon… for a gun that she was licensed to carry. The problem was that Allen’s concealed carry permit was not applicable in New Jersey, despite being perfectly valid in her home state of Pennsylvania.
The incident stirred public outrage, and with it, calls for clemency. Allen was a mother of two, a successful phlebotomist, and had a clean criminal record – yet now she would face a minimum sentence of three years in prison for breaking a law she didn’t even know about.
Fortunately for Allen, she was pardoned by Governor Chris Christie earlier this year, thus escaping the threat of conviction and incarceration. All the same, Allen’s alarmingly close brush with prison time serves as a stark reminder that gun owners absolutely must familiarize themselves not only with their own state’s gun laws, but also the laws observed by surrounding jurisdictions.
This is where reciprocity agreements enter the picture. Put simply, states with reciprocity agreements agree to honor each other’s permits to carry. As Shaneen Allen found out the hard way, New Jersey does not share a reciprocity agreement with Pennsylvania, nor with any of the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York (including New York City)
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
As you can see from the above list, most states do not share concealed carry agreements with New Jersey (which is known for enforcing some of the toughest gun laws in the country). Only the following states recognize New Jersey-issued permits to carry:
- Michigan (Resident Permits only)
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
As you may have noticed from these lists, there’s a geographic problem: New Jersey is completely walled in by states which do not honor New Jersey concealed carry permits (such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland). This makes any interstate travel with a firearm very risky, even if the New Jersey permit is honored in the destination state (such as Ohio, Vermont, or North Carolina). If you take your firearm into a state which has not established a reciprocal agreement with New Jersey, you risk finding yourself in the same situation as Shaneen Allen.
Criminal Penalties for Bringing Your Gun to a School or College
Even with a New Jersey permit or license, there are still certain places where you cannot bring your weapon under state law. N.J.S.A. § 2C:39-5 (Unlawful Possession of Weapons) prohibits bringing a firearm “upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution,” unless you obtain written permission from the institution’s governing officer. Disassembled and even completely fake weapons are also prohibited by the same law.
If you bring a gun into an educational institution without first getting written permission from the appropriate authority, you can be charged with a fourth or even third-degree crime (felony), subject to the following penalties:
- Fourth Degree Crimes
- Fine – Up to $10,000
- Sentence – Up to 18 months
- Third Degree Crimes
- Fine – Up to $15,000
- Sentence – Up to 5 years
If you’ve been charged with violating New Jersey gun laws, you face extremely harsh criminal consequences. It is absolutely critical to seek skilled legal representation from an experienced weapons crimes lawyer.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, we have more than 45 years of experience representing clients charged with misdemeanor and felony gun crimes and are prepared to challenge every piece of evidence against you to protect your rights and liberties. We offer free initial consultations and handle cases arising throughout Cape May County, Atlantic County, Camden County, Ocean County, Burlington County, and the surrounding areas.
For a free and private consultation, call our law offices at (609) 616-4956 today. You will not be charged any fees for your consultation, and we will keep your information confidential. Se habla español.