BB Guns, Airsoft Guns, Pellet Guns

“It is hard to believe, but BB guns, Airsoft guns, and Pellet guns are considered illegal firearms in New Jersey and you must have a firearms ID card to legally purchase them and possess them (outside of your home). If you fail to do so, you can be charged with unlawful possession of a weapon under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5.”

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BB gun and Airsoft Gun laws in NJ

Have you been arrested and charged with illegal possession of a BB gun, pellet gun, or airsoft gun in New Jersey and you need a lawyer? You’ve come to the right place. Perhaps you had one as a kid and took a trip down memory lane buying a BB gun while visiting another state. What you did not know is that a BB gun is not a toy in New Jersey. In fact, it is a regulated firearm with strict laws on possession and use, especially the long arm rifle-looking version. Unfortunately, many people find out the hard way that it is illegal to purchase a BB gun without proper identification and a permit, and you can end up in big trouble carrying one or shooting one on your own property. You certainly want to consult an experienced gun attorney if you have been charged with illegal possession of a BB gun or another firearm, as the penalties in New Jersey are steep.

The firearms defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC represent clients charged with bb guns, airsoft guns, pellet guns, and any other firearms offenses in Jersey City, Elizabeth, Newark, and Morristown NJ. In fact, our criminal trial team is composed of several former county prosecutors who previously prosecuted gun charges for the State of NJ: Now they use that expertise and experience to create a comprehensive defense strategy to combat your weapons charges. In addition, our managing partner, Travis J. Tormey, was recently recognized as one of the top 10 criminal lawyers in the State of New Jersey. For immediate assistance, contact our offices anytime at (201)-614-2474. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.

Here is a review from one of our Bergen County firearms offense cases:

“Worth every penny. Words can not express how pleased I was with my decision to retain Christopher Perry. I had never had any legal issues in the past and had no idea how to proceed. Mr. Perry explained every step with patience and attention to detail, his knowledge and professionalism immediately eased my anxiety. He was attentive and answered every one of my questions immediately to the fullest extent of his abilities. The outcome of my case was ideal and I firmly believe it was entirely due to having Mr. Perry as my attorney. I HIGHLY recommend him to anyone who may find themselves in need of his services and would not hesitate to use him in the future. Words can not express how impressed I was with his services through the entire 9 month process. Look no further you have found your attorney.”


BB Guns, Airsoft Guns, Pellet Guns: Firearms in New Jersey

It’s hard to believe but BB guns, airsoft guns, and pellet guns are categorized as firearms in New Jersey. That’s right. You can go into a sporting goods store in Pennsylvania or a flea market and buy one, bring it to NJ and if you are stopped by police, you will be charged with a felony weapons offense in New Jersey.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1, the definitions of weapons and firearms include section (f) which provides:

f.     “Firearm” means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances. It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.

As a result, if you are in possession of one of these “weapons” you will be charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 for unlawful possession of a weapon under subsection (b) which provides:

b. Handguns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same is guilty of a crime of the third degree if the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person. Otherwise it is a crime of the second degree.

This third degree offense is an indictable (felony) level offense punishable by 3-5 years in New Jersey state prison if convicted.

Purchase of BB guns in New Jersey

To purchase a BB gun in New Jersey, you need a firearms purchaser identification card. The process begins by applying to the local police department or through the New Jersey State Police, using the online Firearms Applicant Registration System with a police-issued access code and payment of required fees. You cannot buy a BB gun from a firearms seller without a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card and a photo identification. You must also fill out a Certificate of Eligibility at a licensed firearms dealer or website, unless you got it from an immediate family member, law enforcement officer, or licensed collector of antique guns. However, many people don’t buy BB guns in New Jersey. They buy them in other states and then bring them back to NJ without knowing that mere possession can lead to criminal charges for unlawful possession of a weapon.

When you buy your gun from a licensed dealer, the dealer or seller should take care of sending the paperwork to the appropriate agency. You also need to be fingerprinted if it is a first-time purchase and your first Firearms Purchaser Identification Card or first Permit to Purchase a Handgun and for each time afterward when you renew your permit. At the time you are fingerprinted, you pay your fee set by the local police department or nearest state police station. Without the required permits, you are in violation of New Jersey gun laws.

New Jersey Rules about Airsoft Guns

Airsoft guns are replicas or imitations of real firearms. They are designed so citizens can safely simulate using guns. They are typically used for recreational purposes such as hunting or airsoft sports. Additionally, some law enforcement and military agencies even use them for training. For many, hunting is a very popular activity and if done properly, is completely legal. To that end, airsoft guns may be used to hunt certain animals. Specifically, you may hunt cottontail rabbit, hare and gray squirrels. Nevertheless, in order to properly hunt in New Jersey, you must obtain a hunting license. A person can acquire the proper license by taking an educational course and paying the required fee. Moreover, you must hunt in specific zones and hunting must occur during the proper seasons, depending on the animal. Also, any person above the age of 10 can apply for a license. However, please keep in mind, you can only hunt with an airsoft gun. You cannot use an air powered bow because the arrows are deemed illegal ammunition. Moreover, you cannot use a silencer on the weapon because silencers are considered a prohibited device under our criminal code.

While airsoft guns can be possessed and used legally in New Jersey, they are deemed to be firearms. Therefore, like a handgun or BB gun, you cannot simply purchase one at a store, at least not in the Garden State. For actual firearms, one must obtain a permit to purchase and the sale must be through a licensed gun dealer. Same applies for airsoft guns. In order to legally purchase an airsoft gun, you must acquire a permit. Simply having the gun, in public, without a permit, is a criminal offense.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding BB Guns in New Jersey

FAQ: Can I get PTI on my BB gun charge in New Jersey? If you are eligible for PTI, it is very likely you can get Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) on your NJ BB gun charges. To be eligible for PTI, you must not have any prior criminal record and you can not have used a diversionary first time offender program in New Jersey before. If you are accepted into PTI, your charges will be suspended, you will be placed on probation and, if you successfully complete the probation, the charges will be dismissed against you. After six (6) months, you can then expunge the arrest from your record as well.

FAQ: If I’m convicted of a BB gun or pellet gun or airsoft gun in New Jersey, am I going to jail? Potentially, but not likely. Although there can be jail time associated with these charges, most prosecutors in NJ are not looking for jail and you can be placed on probation.

Arrested for a BB gun in New Jersey? We can help

Mr. Tormey and the Tormey Law Firm has successfully handled a number of BB gun and airsoft gun style cases throughout New Jersey. Contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation at (201)-614-2474.