Posted on January 1, 2012
Last updated December 9, 2013
In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. New Jersey ranked 3rd out of 50 – having some of the strongest gun laws in the country.
In 2013, the New Jersey legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.
Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation
|NJ A 3687||Disqualifies any person named on the federal Terrorist Watchlist from purchasing a firearm.|
|NJ A 3717||Requires submission of certain mental health records to NICS.|
Laws that Weaken Gun Regulation
|NJ A 3788||Makes concealed weapon permit records confidential.|
Among other things, New Jersey:
- Requires permits for the purchase of any handgun, as well as a separate permit for persons purchasing long guns, both requiring a background check prior to issuance;
- Provides law enforcement discretion when issuing permits to carry concealed weapons;
- Prohibits the purchase or possession of a firearm by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, and by persons subject to protective orders;
- Requires the licensing of all firearms dealers and their employees;
- Limits the number of handguns that may be purchased to one per month;
- Imposes a 7-day waiting period prior to the physical transfer of a handgun;
- Will require the sale of personalized handguns once such technology is available for retail sale;
- Prohibits the possession and transfer of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Requires firearm owners to report the loss or theft of their firearms; and
- Requires all firearms dealers and ammunition sellers to maintain records of all acquisitions and dispositions of firearms and ammunition.
New Jersey does not, however:
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of 50 caliber rifles;
- Prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public (lawful if the possessor has a permit); or
- Regulate unsafe handguns.
Local governments in New Jersey have broad authority to regulate firearms and ammunition.
In 2010, New Jersey had the 5th lowest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. New Jersey had the 3rd lowest rate of crime gun exports among the states in 2009–meaning that crime guns originally sold in New Jersey were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at the 3rd lowest rate among the states. New Jersey imports far more crime guns than it exports.
New Jersey Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in New Jersey, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.