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Legal Information: New Jersey

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of
January 8, 2024

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

New Jersey state law says that a person cannot get a “handgun purchase permit” or a “firearms purchaser identification card” if:

  • s/he was convicted of any crime;1
  • s/he was convicted of a “disorderly persons offense” that involves an act of domestic violence, which includes any of the following when committed against a family or household member:
  • s/he is subject to a restraining order against him/her that prohibits firearm possession;
  • s/he had a gun that was taken away under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and it was not returned;
  • the issuance of the permit would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare;
  • s/he is addicted to drugs or is an alcoholic;
  • s/he is currently, or has ever been, confined for a mental disorder to a hospital or mental institution or sanitarium;
  • s/he suffers from a physical defect/disease, which would make it unsafe for him/her to handle firearms;
  • s/he knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card;
  • s/he is under the age of 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card ,or under the age of 21 years for a permit to purchase a handgun;
  • s/he was, as a juvenile, 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 or explosive/destructive device;
  • s/he is subject to a court order prohibiting the custody, control, ownership, purchase, possession, or receipt of a firearm or ammunition that was issued after being charged with or convicted of a crime directed at or committed against a judicial officer; or
  • s/he is named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.1

In addition, it is a crime of the 2nd degree under New Jersey state law for anyone who was convicted of any of the following crimes, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the following crimes, to possess a firearm or ammunition:

  • aggravated assault;
  • arson;
  • burglary;
  • escape;
  • extortion;
  • homicide;
  • kidnapping;
  • robbery;
  • aggravated sexual assault;
  • sexual assault;
  • bias intimidation;
  • endangering the welfare of a child;
  • stalking;
  • carjacking;
  • gang criminality;
  • racketeering;
  • terroristic threats;
  • unlawful possession of a machine gun, handgun, or assault firearm;
  • leader of firearms trafficking network;
  • a crime involving domestic violence or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime involving domestic violence;
  • certain drug crimes or an attempt or conspiracy to commit certain drug crimes (listed here in (b)(1));
  • certain crimes involving possession of prohibited weapons and devices (listed here in (b)(1)).3

It is a crime of the 3rd degree under New Jersey state law for someone to possess a firearm or ammunition if:

  • s/he was convicted of a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence;
  • s/he is subject to an extreme risk protection order;
  • his/her firearm was seized (taken by police) pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act” and was not returned; or
  • there is a court order prohibiting the possession of firearms issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act” (except this does not apply to law enforcement officers while on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty).4

Note: These convictions listed above do not necessarily have to have taken place in a New Jersey court. If the abuser was convicted of a similar crime in another state, territory, commonwealth or other jurisdiction of the United States, or even in any country in the world (if it was in a court of “competent jurisdiction”), the law would still apply.5

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if you have a restraining order against him/her that meets certain requirements or if s/he has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:58-3(c)
2 N.J. Stat. §§ 2C:58-3(c); 2C:25-19(a)
3 N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-7(b)(1)
4 N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-7(b)(2), (b)(3), (b)(4)
5 N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-7(c)