Laws related to weapons, including guns, can be complex. That’s true in New Jersey as well as the rest of the country. It can be hard to understand what’s allowed in your state and how state laws and federal laws co-exist in this space.
Add to the existing complexity of gun laws the fact that states update their laws regularly, and it becomes almost impossible for individuals to keep up with what is legal and what isn’t when it comes to firearms. If you’re a legal gun owner, however, part of your responsibility is understanding the laws governing your property.
To that end, it’s critical to keep up with changing legislation as best you can. The brief guide below covers seven bills that passed the state legislature and were signed by the governor in 2022. These laws will impact gun ownership and sales in 2023 and future years.
Educating yourself about such laws is one way to reduce your risks of facing illegal possession of firearms charges. If you do find yourself facing weapons charges, don’t fight that battle alone. Reach out to the Hernandez Law Firm, P.C., to find out how we can help protect your rights and create a strong defense strategy.
Now let’s take a brief look at seven bills that passed in 2022 and what they mean for legal gun ownership.
Bill A4370 requires successful applicants for a firearms purchaser identification card (FPIC) or permit to purchase a handgun (PPH) to prove they completed an approved firearms safety course within the previous four years. This is a one-time requirement for FPIC and PPH. Applicants don’t have to provide the documentation again or take safety courses again to renew their permits. The new law also states that FPICs expire after 10 years.
Bill S2905 bans the purchase of certain types of .50 caliber firearms. However, it does make exceptions for antique collectors’ items. Note that this bill doesn’t prohibit ownership of qualifying guns if a person lawfully owned the firearm prior to the change in the law. Individuals who lawfully own such guns are now required to register them.
Under bill A1765, the New Jersey Attorney General is allowed to bring action against firearms manufacturers or sellers if the office believes there is a case related to public nuisance. In short, if the Attorney General’s office believes gun industry businesses in the state are putting public safety at risk, the office can take action.
Bill S1204 requires people who move to New Jersey to seek FPICs and register their firearms. They must do so within 60 days of becoming a resident of New Jersey if they are bringing firearms purchased out of the state with them.
Microstamping refers to a process that marks a bullet when it’s fired from a gun. This technology creates a distinctive mark that allows law enforcement to connect a bullet recovered from a crime scene with a specific firearm. It’s difficult to create production processes that generate firearms capable of microstamping, however, so it’s not commercially viable to require all guns to have this feature.
Instead, bill A4368 states that firearms retailers in the state are required to sell firearms with this feature once the Attorney General’s office determines it is commercially viable to make this demand for specific types or models of guns.
Under bill A1302, sellers of handgun ammunition must keep detailed electronic records. These records must be reported to law enforcement following the requirements in the bill.
Ghost guns are firearms that are untraceable — or much harder to trace than legal firearms. They are not registered or purchased through standard channels, as they’re built via DIY processes at home. They’re made from parts that are fairly easy to purchase.
Bill S2846 makes some firearms manufacturing crimes related to these types of guns second-degree indictable crimes. Previously, these were third-degree indictable crimes. The change increases the potential penalties for anyone convicted of these crimes.
Not sure if any of these laws even apply to you? That’s understandable, as many relate to firearms and ammunition manufacturing and sales. If you purchased your guns legally from a reputable shop, you’re probably within the law with your firearms. Because firearms violations can be so serious, if you’re ever unsure about the legality of your guns, consider consulting an attorney.
Weapons possession charges can be much more complex than they might first seem, and they can come with serious penalties if you are convicted. Instead of facing the criminal justice system on your own, work to protect your rights with help from an experienced criminal law team. Call the Hernandez Law Firm, P.C., at 732-286-2700 if you’ve been charged with illegal possession of a firearm or any other crime.