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What are the Gun Laws in New Jersey?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms


Restricted Firearms

New Jersey law restricts the ownership of certain semi-automatic and other firearms based upon their military appearance.

A specific list of restricted “assault firearms” is maintained by the New Jersey State Police. It includes many widely available firearms, and is subject to change and modification.

Contact the New Jersey State Police for Information regarding which firearms are “assault firearms.”

An “assault firearm” also includes any semiautomatic shotgun with either a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a conspicuous pistol grip, or a folding stock; a semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 15 rounds; a part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an “assault firearm,” or any combination of parts from which an “assault firearm” may be readily assembled.

Any magazine with a capacity greater than fifteen rounds is prohibited, even if there is no semi-automatic firearm to accompany the magazine unless the person has a registered “assault firearm” and the magazine is used for DCM sanctioned shooting matches.

Any “assault firearm” legally possessed before May 1, 1990 is illegal unless that firearm was registered before May 1, 1991.

Any “assault firearm” which was not owned prior to May 1, 1990, must be licensed.

The licensing procedures for an “assault firearm” are the same as those listed in MACHINE GUNS, above.

Upon the death of the owner of a properly licensed “assault firearm,” the owner’s heirs or estate have 90 days if unable to get a license to either transfer the firearm to any person or firm lawfully entitled to own or possess such firearm, render the firearm inoperable, voluntarily surrender it, or remove the firearm from New Jersey to a state where the “assault firearm” would be legal.

Miscellaneous Provisions

It is unlawful to discharge any incendiary or tracer ammunition, except for law enforcement or military purposes except that non-incendiary tracer shotgun ammunition may be used on trap and skeet ranges for target shooting purposes.

It is unlawful for any person to advertise to sell a machine gun, semi-automatic rifle, or assault firearm in newspaper circulating within New Jersey if the ad does not specify that the purchaser shall hold a valid license to purchase and possess a machine gun or assault firearm, or a valid FID card to purchase and possess an automatic or semi-automatic rifle.

It is unlawful for any person to deface a firearm, or to knowingly have in his possession any firearm which has been defaced, except an antique firearm or antique handgun.

Civilians are prohibited from possessing silencers, shotguns with an overall length less than 26 inches or a barrel less than 18 inches, and rifles with an overall length less than 26 inches or a barrel less than 16 inches in length.

It is unlawful to loan money where the security for the loan is a firearm.

It is unlawful to riot with a firearm or deadly weapon.

Retail gun dealers and their employees must be licensed by the judge of the Superior Court in the county where the business is located.

All wounds arising from or caused by a firearm must be reported at once to the police.

Every conviction of a non-citizen for violating New Jersey’s gun laws must be certified to the proper officer of the United States Government by the county prosecutor or attorney general.

Unless allowed under exemptions for minors listed in the POSSESSION section above, it is unlawful to leave a loaded firearm within reach or easy access of a person under 16.

This provision does not apply to a firearm stored in a securely locked box or container; or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or securely locked with a trigger lock; or under circumstances where a minor obtained a firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by person.

Wholesale and retail dealers of firearms must conspicuously post at each purchase counter, printed in block letters not less than one inch in height a warning that it is a criminal offense to leave a loaded gun within access of a minor.

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