While people do not ordinarily carry long-bladed weapons around, they are not necessarily illegal. Weapons like machetes are used as tools to clear brush, chop compost, cut and maintain trails, and various other outdoor tasks. Swords can be a bit more unusual, but they are sometimes collector’s pieces and used for decoration or display or used for costumes and performances. In either circumstance, the item in question is very dangerous and may be subject to legal restrictions.
Swords and machetes are not illegal to own or purchase in New Jersey. Machetes are often found in places like hardware stores or sporting goods retailers. Swords are frequently bought and sold by collectors. Unlike firearms, there are no background checks or other stringent requirements necessary to obtain one of these weapons. However, using these weapons for illegal purposes or owning them when you are a restricted person may lead to criminal charges.
It is not illegal to own a machete or sword, but that does not mean you cannot get into trouble. Our Atlantic City weapons charges defense attorneys can help you challenge any criminal charges related to these weapons and others. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free case review.
Can I Legally Own Swords and Machetes in New Jersey?
Machetes and swords are not illegal to own or purchase. Machetes are common tools used in agriculture and various outdoor activities. Swords are often antique collector’s items or replicas of collector’s items. It is not necessary to acquire a permit or be approved to own one of these weapons before buying one. However, these items are still legally considered “weapons” under the law.
According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:39-1(r), a weapon may include any number of tools or devices that do not fall under a more specific classification. The definition encompasses anything that could inflict lethal harm or serious bodily injury. The law does not mention swords or machetes specifically but provides a non-exhaustive list of several comparable blades.
Machetes are tools common in farming, camping, and other outdoor activities. They are often used to clear brush from fields or clear paths and trails through heavily wooded areas. They can also be used to chop wood and harvest crops. While these tools are not intended to be used as weapons, they can cause great harm nonetheless. Similarly, swords are often meant to be used for decorative or display purposes. However, a sword is still a dangerous blade.
It is not illegal to own these weapons, but you may still face criminal charges for misusing them or carrying them in restricted areas like schools or hospitals. Even carrying a machete around a public park or just a random sidewalk would raise police suspicion. Call our Brigantine weapons charges defense lawyers for help if you are charged with an offense related to your sword or machete.
Restrictions on Owning or Carrying Swords and Machetes in New Jersey
While you are not prohibited from owning a machete or a sword, you must be careful when carrying one. According to N.J.S.A. § 2c:39-3, when carrying a dangerous weapon, you must have an explainable, legal reason. Otherwise, you could be charged with a fourth-degree crime. This does not mean that carrying a sword or machete will always lead to criminal charges. However, you could be in trouble if you cannot explain why you are carrying a sword or machete. If you had a good reason for carrying your sword or machete but were still criminally charged, talk to our New Jersey weapons charges defense lawyers immediately.
The location you carry these weapons will influence whether you could be criminally charged. A park ranger carrying a machete while walking through nature trails is fairly normal, as machetes can be used to clear brush and maintain trails and paths. However, they will likely be questioned if the park ranger tried to carry their machete while running errands at the bank. The same can be said of swords. If you have a sword in your car because you are a collector taking the sword home after buying it from a seller of antique collectibles, you will probably not face criminal charges. Carrying a sword in a grocery store, on the other hand, will draw the ire of law enforcement.
Criminal Charges Related to Swords and Machetes in New Jersey
Not every person is permitted to carry certain dangerous or deadly weapons. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:39-7, people with specific backgrounds are restricted from having firearms, ammunition, and various deadly weapons like machetes or swords. People commonly restricted from owning, carrying, or buying weapons include those with certain criminal backgrounds, substance abuse problems, or mental health issues. Talk to our New Jersey weapons charges defense attorneys to figure out if you are a restricted person.
You can also be criminally charged for possession with criminal intent if you have a weapon and plan to carry out a crime using the weapon. If the police apprehend you on your way to rob a bank with a gun, you could be charged for planning to use the gun in the commission of a crime. This offense may be assessed even if the defendant legally possesses the weapon. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:39-4, this is a third-degree crime.
If you actually complete the crime for which you had the weapon, you might face criminal charges for using the weapon in the commission of the crime. Many offenses may be upgraded if a weapon is used. For example, a fight in a bar might be a minor disorderly conduct charge. However, if you pulled out a machete in a fight, you could face much more serious charges for indictable crimes.
Call Our New Jersey Weapons Charges Defense Lawyers
If you are dealing with criminal charges for having a machete or a sword, call our Cape May weapons charges defense attorneys for help. Machetes and swords are not illegal, and you might be able to fight the charges. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free case review.