Known for having one of the strongest gun laws in the country, New Jersey takes significant measures to ensure the safety of its citizens. Before anyone can own a firearm, they must first obtain a permit and undergo a background check. Certain factors, such as having a history of crime or drug dependency, can disqualify an individual from acquiring a permit to carry.
Barriers to gun ownership in New Jersey
In general, no one with a felony conviction, domestic violence misdemeanor charges or severe mental illness conviction may legally purchase or own a firearm. Since federal law does not completely prohibit potentially dangerous people from owning guns, New Jersey adopted stricter limitations to regulate who can carry firearms.
Those who match these criteria are unlikely to obtain a permit to carry firearms in New Jersey:
- Convicted of a crime, or attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime (A crime in New Jersey is any offense that could result in over six months in jail)
- Convicted of a “disorderly persons offense” involving domestic violence
- Have been confined for a mental disorder to a hospital or similar institution unless a licensed doctor can certify that they no longer have the mental disorder that would prohibit the safe handling of a firearm
- Convicted for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance
- Have a disability or illness that would make it unsafe for them to handle firearms
- Under 18, which disqualifies them from obtaining a Firearms Purchase Identification Card (FPIC), or under 21, which is the minimum age requirement to buy a handgun
- Have a juvenile record for offenses that, if committed by an adult, would fall under a crime and that involve the unlawful possession or use of a weapon, explosive or destructive device
- Is subject to or has violated a restraining order
- Is a habitual drunkard, alcoholic or has a substance use disorder
- Has falsified information on their application form
- Is on the terrorist watch list
New Jersey has many more restrictions that make acquiring or keeping a firearm difficult. Additionally, no one who has shown signs of being a potential threat to themselves or others through their temperament, character or actions shall be allowed to possess a firearm.
The balance between public safety and individual rights is often delicate. New Jersey’s approach to gun ownership shows its dedication to maintaining that balance.