Firearm Laws in New Jersey


The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides the right to “bear arms”—yet the interpretation of what this right means has been debated over the past several decades with increasing frequency and varies from state to state. One area of firearm regulation that is often highly contentious is an individual’s ability to carry a firearm on their person, outside of their home. New Jersey has some of the strictest firearm carry laws in the nation. Here is what you need to know about carrying a gun in New Jersey.

Can I Carry a Gun in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, to obtain a permit to carry a firearm, an individual must demonstrate that they have experienced specific threats or previous attacks which create a special danger to their life that can only be avoided by carrying a firearm.

Recently, a federal judge rejected a challenge to New Jersey’s firearm carrying restrictions, which was brought by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs and a New Jersey resident. The resident was denied a carry permit for failure to demonstrate a justified need. In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed this requirement to stand and while the U.S. Supreme Court has found that people have a constitutional right to have firearms in their homes for self-defense, they have also stated that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not without limit.

Individuals who believe they have a justified need, as defined by NJ law, to carry a firearm, must fill out an application in order to obtain a permit. The application will ask whether you have ever been adjudged a juvenile delinquent, convicted of a disorderly persons offense or an indictable crime, are an alcoholic, or suffer from a physical defect or sickness, among other questions.

Reasons that an individual’s application to carry a firearm in New Jersey may be denied include: criminal record; public health, safety, and welfare; medical, mental, or alcoholic background; narcotics/dangerous drug offenses; falsification of application; domestic violence; and lack of justifiable need. Due to the high standard required to demonstrate a justified need to carry a firearm under NJ law, lack of justifiable need is perhaps the most common reason for the denial of an application.

Does New Jersey Allow Firearm Carry Permits From Other States?

New Jersey law does not give reciprocity to firearm carry permits issued by other states. This means that if you have a carry permit from a state like Ohio or Illinois, you cannot carry a firearm in New Jersey based on that out of state permit. You must have a permit issued by the State of New Jersey.

For those New Jersey residents who are able to demonstrate a justifiable need to carry a firearm and are issued a carry permit, states that will give reciprocity to your New Jersey gun carry permit include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.

Gun laws are always subject to new legislation and it is important to make sure you are in full compliance with the law of each state in which you possess a firearm, as firearm violations can result in jail time and significant fines. In New Jersey, people often find themselves arrested and charged with unlawful possession of gun simply because they didn’t know they couldn’t legally bring their firearm across state lines into NJ without violating state law.

Hoboken NJ Gun Law Attorneys

If you are facing gun charges for possessing a firearm without a valid permit, or you have questions about how to get a permit to carry a gun in New Jersey, the attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law can help. We have extensive knowledge of New Jersey guns laws and can help you successfully navigate the legal system. For additional information and a free consultation, contact our experienced Hudson County gun attorneys at (201) 793-8018 or fill out our online form.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.