New Jersey has some of the strictest and most confusing gun laws in the country. Additionally, they are constantly evolving. It is difficult for handgun owners to know where they can and cannot carry their firearms.
A new law was enacted in 2022 stating that a permit to carry a handgun does not authorize you to openly carry your handgun outside of your home in New Jersey. You may only open carry your handgun at your home or other private property that you own. If you obtain a carry permit, you may be able to carry your handgun at certain authorized locations. However, it must be carried in a holster while concealed on your person. Furthermore, when transporting your handgun in your vehicle, it must be properly stored and cannot be easily accessible.
If you have been charged with a gun crime, seek support and guidance from our Atlantic City weapons possession defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956.
Carrying a Handgun on Private Property You Own in New Jersey
In order to purchase a handgun in New Jersey, you must obtain a permit to purchase a handgun. One permit must be acquired for each handgun purchase. It is illegal to give, sell, assign, transfer, or otherwise dispose of a handgun unless the recipient has a permit to purchase a handgun or is licensed as a dealer.
In New Jersey, you are allowed to open carry your handgun at your home or other private property that you own. However, in order to transport your handgun, it must be properly stored. Proper storage will involve carrying the handgun unloaded and in a closed and fastened gun box, case, package. Alternatively, your unloaded handgun can also be locked in your trunk. It cannot be easily accessible from the passenger compartment of your vehicle. If your passenger compartment is not separate from your trunk, then your handgun must be secured in a locked container. Your ammunition must also be stored in a separate, locked container. Therefore, you cannot open carry your handgun in your car in New Jersey.
Carrying a Handgun on Another Person’s Property in New Jersey
Previously, you were allowed to open carry your handgun in your car if you had a permit to carry a handgun. However, in 2022, New Jersey altered N.J.S.A. § 2C:58-4(a) to explicitly state that a carry permit does not authorize you to openly carry your handgun. A carry permit only authorizes you to carry your handgun in a holster that is concealed on your person. Generally, open carry is not often practiced except by security officers and others who may carry handguns while on duty.
If you have a carry permit, then you may concealed carry your handgun in certain places like restaurants, churches, and other places as long as there are no restrictions. Private property owners are allowed to restrict guns from being carried on their premises in New Jersey. While it is not a statutory requirement, property owners who wish to prohibit firearms should put up signs indicating as such. If a property owner has not restricted the use of firearms, you may be able to carry a gun on their premises.
Governor Phil Murphy has attempted to establish additional restrictions for carrying guns on other peoples’ private property. In 2022, he enacted a new bill, A4769 to, in part, require private property owners’ permission to carry firearms on their premises. This includes private property such as churches, restaurants, and private homes.
However, the new restriction is facing legal challenges, and a judge has issued a temporary order prohibiting its application. Accordingly, as of April 2023, enforcement of this new requirement has been stalled pending a judgement in federal court.
Obtaining a Permit to Carry a Handgun in New Jersey
In order to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in a holster and concealed on your person in New Jersey, you must submit an application to local law enforcement officers. In addition to being approved by law enforcement, your application must receive approval from the court.
Obtaining a permit to carry a handgun can be a complex process. You will have to submit proof of your familiarity with handguns and your ability to handle them safely. Furthermore, your application has to be supported by personal references. The fee to apply is approximately $200.
Typically, the government will respond to your application within 90 days. There are several reasons that your application for a handgun permit may be denied. For example, you may be denied a permit if you have a history of drug abuse or have previously committed domestic violence. Further, you may be denied a handgun permit if you have a physical or mental disability that disrupts your ability to safely use a firearm.
Previously, in order to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in New Jersey, you would have to prove that you had a “justifiable need” for the permit. However, the 2022 Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen struck down a similar rule in New York for being unconstitutional. In order to adhere to this Supreme Court ruling, New Jersey has adjusted its permitting process. Still, many of the existing rules are being challenged. After being accused of a gun crime, our Gloucester, NJ weapons possession defense attorneys can determine how changes to the permitting process may affect your case.
Examples of Places Where You Cannot Carry a Handgun in New Jersey
Even if you have a permit to carry a handgun in a holster and concealed on your person, there are certain properties where firearms are never allowed. For instance, you cannot carry your handgun into schools, colleges, or universities. Carrying your gun onto the premises of an educational institution can result in the assessment of serious criminal penalties. Guns are also prohibited in state parks, casinos, post offices, and Indian reservations. In general, it is important to always familiarize yourself with applicable regulations before carrying your handgun outside of your home.
Under federal law, you also cannot carry a handgun into federally protected areas like prisons, courthouses, military bases, national parks, national cemeteries, and other places the federal government uses or rents. There are multiple other locations where carrying a handgun is not permitted. In general, it is best to always familiarize yourself with applicable regulations before carrying a handgun outside of your home in New Jersey.
After Being Charged with a Gun Crime in New Jersey, Call Our Attorneys for Help
Get help from our South Jersey weapons possession defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by dialing (609) 616-4956.