What is the penalty for violating state or federal firearm laws?
Under New Jersey state law, if you have a restraining order against the abuser, and s/he doesn’t surrender the firearms to law enforcement as instructed or if the abuser is illegally possessing a firearm under any other circumstance (such as possessing a firearm without a permit), s/he could be arrested for unlawful possession of weapons. If s/he is convicted of unlawful possession of weapons, it can be a crime in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree (depending on the circumstances) and s/he can be sentenced accordingly. In addition, if the abuser is in possession of a firearm in violation of a restraining order, s/he can be held in contempt. The crime of contempt can be either a disorderly persons offense or a crime in the 4th degree, depending on the circumstances1 – and therefore, the maximum punishment for contempt could be jail time of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.2
In addition, under federal law, anyone who owns, has or buys a gun in violation of the federal firearm laws can be punished by a fine, jail time for up to 10 years, or both.3
1 NJ Statutes §§ 2C:29-9(b)(1),(2); 2C:39-5
2 NJ Statutes §§ 2C:43-6(a)(4); 2C:43-3(b)(2)
3 18 USC § 924(a)(2)