Mental Health Reporting in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

A 2009 New Jersey law created an exception to the rule of confidentiality for inpatient records for when “disclosure is needed to comply with the data reporting provisions of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub.L.110-180, and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, Pub.L.103-159.” 2

More significantly, a 2013 law states:

In compliance with the federal NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub.L. 110-180 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, Pub.L. 103-159, the Attorney General shall direct the Superintendent of the State Police to collect, in cooperation with the Administrative Office of the Courts, such data as may be required to make a determination as to whether a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922 or applicable State law, and to transmit such data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.3

Any person seeking to purchase or possess a firearm in New Jersey must obtain either a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) following a background check, among other requirements.4 Applicants for a permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC must state:

whether he has ever been confined or committed to a mental institution or hospital for treatment or observation of a mental or psychiatric condition on a temporary, interim or permanent basis, giving the name and location of the institution or hospital and the dates of such confinement or commitment, whether he has been attended, treated or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition, giving the name and location of the doctor, psychiatrist, hospital or institution and the dates of such occurrence …5

The applicant must “waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement.” 6

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the New Jersey Background Checks and New Jersey Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. N.J. Stat. § 30:4-24.3. []
  3. N.J. Stat. § 30:4-24.3a. []
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3(c)(2), (3); N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.5. []
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3(e). []
  6. Id. []

Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

Prior to purchasing a firearm in New Jersey, all prospective purchasers must obtain either a permit to purchase a handgun (one permit per handgun purchase), or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) (one card allows unlimited rifle and shotgun purchases),1 from local law enforcement or the New Jersey State Police (NJSP).2 Applicants must provide their name, residence, place of business, age, date of birth, occupation, sex, physical description, distinguishing characteristics, as well as an extensive personal history.3 Both permits require the applicant to undergo a background check and waive confidentiality relating to any institutional confinement for a mental or psychiatric condition. For more on background checks and other criteria for obtaining a permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC, see the sections entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey and Mental Health Reporting in New Jersey.

If an applicant qualifies for a permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC, the permit or FPIC shall be issued within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application, or within 45 days if the applicant is not a New Jersey resident.4

Once issued, a permit to purchase a handgun is valid for 90 days, and may be renewed for good cause for another 90 days.5 Prior to the time a permittee receives a handgun, he or she shall deliver the permit to the seller, and the seller shall enter all the information required on the permit form.6 The seller shall keep a copy as a permanent record, and deliver the completed permit (or copies) to local law enforcement and NJSP within five days of the date of sale.7

A FPIC is valid so long as the holder remains eligible to possess a firearm.8

See our Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9. []
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3a, 3b, 3f, 3i. []
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3e. []
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f. []
  5. Id. []
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3h. []
  7. Id. []
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3b, 3f, 3i; N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.7(a). []

With Increasing Number of Court Victories, 2014 Shaping Into Big Year for Gun Sense in the Courts

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

assault-weapon

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge John Darrah handed the gun sense movement yet another legal victory by upholding a local ordinance that prohibits military-style assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines (“LCMs”) in the city of Highland Park, Illinois. The decision is the most recent in a growing string of cases unanimously finding that prohibitions on assault weapons and LCMs do not infringe on the Second Amendment1.

Plaintiffs in the case, Friedman v. City of Highland Park, tried unsuccessfully to argue that the ordinance violated Second Amendment rights, but after carefully weighing the evidence from both sides, Judge Darrah firmly disagreed. “The record is clear,” he wrote, “that the features of the prohibited firearms, including LCMs, derive from military weapons with a decidedly offensive purpose of quickly acquiring multiple targets and firing at those targets without a frequent need to reload.” In light of their deadly nature, the judge concluded that prohibiting assault weapons and LCMs is a reasonable way to protect public safety without unconstitutionally burdening self-defense rights.

READ MORE »

  1. See, Heller v. District of Columbia, 670 F. 3d 1244, 1260-64 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (upholding the District of Columbia’s ban on assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines after applying intermediate scrutiny); N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Cuomo, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182307 (W.D.N.Y. Dec. 31, 2013) (upholding New York’s assault weapon and large capacity ammunition magazine ban under the same standard); Kampfer v. Cuomo, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1479 (N.D.N.Y Jan. 7, 2014) (upholding New York’s assault weapons ban by finding it does not substantially burden Second Amendment rights); Colo. Outfitters Ass’n v. Hickenlooper, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87021 (D. Colo. June 26, 2014) (upholding Colorado’s ban on large capacity ammunition magazines); Kolbe v. O’Malley, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110976 (D. Md. Aug. 12, 2014) (upholding Maryland’s ban on assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines). []

Retention of Sales & Background Check Records in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

New Jersey requires that any person engaged in the retail sale of handguns keep a register of handgun sales information.1 The register must include the time and date of the sale or transfer, the name, age, date of birth, complexion, occupation, residence and a physical description of the purchaser or transferee, the name and permanent home address of the transferor, the place of the transaction, the make, model, manufacturer’s number, caliber and other identifying marks on the handgun, and such other information as the Superintendent of the State Police deems necessary for proper enforcement.2

The register shall be retained by the dealer and shall be made available at all reasonable hours for inspection by any law enforcement officer.3 Copies of the register shall be delivered within five days of a sale or transfer to local law enforcement (or the local county clerk) and the New Jersey State Police.4

A separate regulation requires all retail firearms dealers to maintain permanent records in bound form of all firearm acquisitions and dispositions, including frames and receivers.5 Such information must be recorded no later than at the close of the next business day following the date of acquisition or disposition.6

Prior to the time a handgun permittee receives the handgun, he or she shall deliver the permit to the seller, and the seller is required to enter all the information on the permit form.7 The seller shall keep a copy as a permanent record, and deliver the completed permit (or copies) to local law enforcement and NJSP within five days of the date of sale.8

See our Retention of Sales & Background Check Records policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2b. []
  2. Id. []
  3. Id. []
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2e. []
  5. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-3.14(a). []
  6. Id. []
  7. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3h. []
  8. Id. []

Waiting Periods in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

New Jersey prohibits the delivery of a handgun by any retail firearms dealer to any person unless the person possesses a valid permit to purchase a handgun and at least seven days have elapsed since the date of application for the permit.1 Since each permit to purchase a handgun is valid for only one handgun purchase, this effectively creates a seven-day waiting period for all handgun sales.2 The waiting period to obtain the permit itself can be as long as 30 days (45 days for non-residents) while the permit application is processed.3

New Jersey has no waiting period for the transfer of long guns.

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a(5)(a). []
  2. Id. []
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f. []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

No person under the age of 18 shall purchase, barter or otherwise acquire a firearm, and no person under the age of 21 shall purchase, barter or otherwise acquire a handgun (unless the person is authorized to possess a handgun in connection with the performance of official duties).1 Permits to purchase a handgun will not be issued to any person under age 21, while Firearms Purchaser Identification Cards (FPIC) – for long guns – will not be issued to any person under age 18.2

New Jersey also prohibits any person under the age of 18 from possessing, carrying, firing or using a firearm, and no person under the age of 21 from possessing, carrying, firing or using a handgun, except:

  • In the actual presence or under the direct supervision of his or her parent, guardian, or a person who holds a permit to carry a handgun or a FPIC; or
  • For the purpose of a military drill supervised by a recognized military organization, lawful and supervised competition or target practice, or lawful hunting when the gun possessor has a valid hunting license and has successfully completed a recognized hunter’s safety course.3

New Jersey imposes harsh penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison term of three years without parole, on any person who knowingly sells, gives, transfers, assigns or otherwise disposes of a firearm to a person under age 18.4

New Jersey prohibits any person from selling, giving, transferring, assigning or otherwise disposing of handgun ammunition to a person under age 21.5

See our Minimum Age to Purchase and Possess policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-6.1a. For additional exceptions, see N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-6. []
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(4). []
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-6.1b. []
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-10e. []
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3.3c. []

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

New Jersey prohibits the following individuals from possessing firearms:

  • Any person convicted of a “crime” of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, domestic violence, or certain weapons-related offenses;1
  • Any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium unless he or she possesses a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that he is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes with or handicaps him in the handling of a firearm;
  • Any person convicted of the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance unless the offense was classified as a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense;
  • Any person convicted of a disorderly persons offense of domestic violence;
  • Any person whose firearm has been seized pursuant to New Jersey’s domestic violence law;
  • Any person who is subject to a court order prohibiting the possession of firearms under New Jersey’s domestic violence law; or
  • Any person convicted in another U.S. or foreign jurisdiction of a crime comparable to a crime listed above. 2

In New Jersey, all prospective firearm purchasers must obtain either a permit to purchase a handgun (one handgun purchase per permit),3 or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) (one card allows unlimited rifle and shotgun purchases),4 from local law enforcement or the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) prior to buying a firearm.5 New Jersey has adopted many classes of prohibited persons that cannot obtain permits or FPICs, incorporating some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses.

No permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC shall be issued to any person who:6

  • Has been “convicted of any crime” (under New Jersey law, a crime is an offense “for which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized);”7
  • Has been convicted of a “disorderly persons offense” involving an act of domestic violence,8 whether or not the person was armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of the offense;
  • Is “drug dependent;”9
  • Is a “habitual drunkard;”
  • Is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium;
  • Has ever been confined for a mental disorder, is an alcoholic, or suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him or her to handle firearms, unless the person can provide “satisfactory proof” that he or she is no longer suffering from that particular disability in a manner that would interfere with his or her handling of firearms;10
  • Refuses to waive statutory or other rights of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement;11
  • Knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or FPIC;
  • Is under 18 years of age for a FPIC;
  • Is under 21 years of age for a permit to purchase a handgun;
  • Is subject to a restraining order prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm;12
  • Has had his or her firearm seized by law enforcement for a domestic violence offense and whose firearm has not been returned;
  • As a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device or is listed in New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2C:43-7.2d; or
  • Is named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Finally, no permit to purchase or FPIC shall be issued where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare.13 In addition, an applicant must be of “good character and good repute in the community” in which he or she lives.14

For more detail on the permit to purchase a handgun and FPIC requirements, see the New Jersey Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

  1. An offense under New Jersey law only constitutes a “crime” if a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized. N.J. Stat. § 2C:1-4. []
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7. []
  3. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(a). []
  4. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(b). []
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3a, 3b. []
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c, N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.5. []
  7. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:1-4. []
  8. See the Domestic Violence & Firearms in New Jersey section for further information. []
  9. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 24:21-2 for the definition of “drug dependent.” []
  10. See N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.6. []
  11. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3e. []
  12. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29b. []
  13. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(5). []
  14. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c. A FPIC is valid so long as the holder is permitted to possess a firearm. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f. A permit to purchase a handgun is valid for 90 days, and may be renewed for good cause for an additional 90 day period. Id. []

Fifty Caliber Rifles in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

New Jersey has no laws regulating fifty caliber rifles.

See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

New Jersey prohibits the manufacture, transportation, shipment, sale or disposal of any large capacity ammunition magazine, unless the magazine is intended to be used for authorized military or law enforcement purposes.1 New Jersey defines “large capacity ammunition magazine” as a box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly into a semi-automatic firearm.2

The state prohibits the knowing possession of a large capacity magazine unless the possessor has registered an assault firearm pursuant to state law and uses the magazine in connection with competitive shooting matches sanctioned by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship of the U.S. Department of the Army.3

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-9h. []
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1y. []
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-3j. []

Assault Weapons in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

New Jersey prohibits the knowing possession of “assault firearms”1 (unless the purchaser or possessor is licensed to possess the assault firearm or the weapon is registered or rendered inoperable), defined to include:

  • More than 50 specified firearms or their copies;2
  • A semi-automatic shotgun with either a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a pistol grip, or a folding stock;3
  • A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 15 rounds;4 and
  • 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 if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.5

Any person seeking to purchase or possess an assault firearm in New Jersey may apply for a license to do so by filing a written application with his or her county’s superior court, setting forth in detail the reasons for desiring such a license.6 “No license shall be issued to any person who would not qualify for a permit to carry a handgun…and no license shall be issued unless the court finds that the public safety and welfare so require.”7 See the section entitled Concealed Weapons Permitting in New Jersey for additional information.

New Jersey prohibits any person from manufacturing, transporting, shipping, selling or disposing of an assault firearm without being registered or licensed to do so under state law.8

Any person who lawfully purchased an assault firearm on or before May 1, 1990 was permitted to register that weapon within one year, if the Attorney General determined it was of a type used for legitimate target-shooting purposes.9 The owner was also required to pay a $50 fee per weapon, produce for inspection a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC), a valid permit to carry handguns, or a copy of the permit to purchase a handgun which was used to purchase the assault firearm being registered, and submit valid proof of membership in a rifle or pistol club.10

Upon the death of a registered owner of an assault firearm, the owner’s heirs or estate have 90 days to either transfer the weapon to someone lawfully entitled to own or possess it, render it inoperable, or voluntarily surrender the gun to law enforcement.11

Finally, any person who offers to sell a semi-automatic rifle or “assault firearm” by means of an advertisement published in a newspaper circulating within New Jersey, where the advertisement does not specify that the purchaser is required to possess a valid New Jersey license to purchase and possess an assault firearm, or a valid FPIC to purchase and possess a semi-automatic rifle, is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.12

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-5f. “Assault Firearm” is defined under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w. []
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(1), (2). []
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(3). []
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(4). []
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(5). []
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5a. []
  7. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5b. Licenses expire two years from the date of issue. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5g. See N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-5.1 – 13:54-5.4, 13:54-5.6 – 13:54-5.7 for further information on assault firearms. []
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-9g. []
  9. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12b. []
  10. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12b. []
  11. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12f. See also N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-13 (provisions for prior owners who chose not to register their assault firearms). []
  12. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-15. []