I have a final restraining order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
No. Under New Jersey law, in any restraining order issued after a hearing, the judge must:
- prohibit the defendant from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a firearm;
- prohibit the defendant from getting or keeping a firearms purchaser identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun;
- require that the abuser immediately surrender any of his/her firearms or other weapons (such as knives) to law enforcement.1
The prohibitions in #1 and #2, above, will be in effect for as long as the restraining order is in effect or for two years, whichever is longer.
In order for law enforcement to get the firearms, an officer must accompany the abuser (or may go without the abuser if necessary) to any place where any firearm or other weapon is located and take possession of them. If the restraining order prohibits the abuser from going to the place where firearms or other weapons belonging to the defendant are located, the law enforcement officer will go without the abuser and seize (take) them.
Note: These prohibitions do not apply to an abuser who is a law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.2
In addition, 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 even if the judge does not specifically include on the order that s/he cannot have a gun. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
1 NJ Stat. § 2C:25-29(b) & (b)(16)
2 NJ Stat. § 2C:25-29(b)