Background Checks for Gun Sales in New Jersey Are Up
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) recently released a report showing that background checks for gun purchases in New Jersey have increased by 41 percent over the past year, indicating that firearms sales in New Jersey have risen considerably. According to data maintained by the FBI, there were 3,000 more background checks completed in October 2016 than there were in October 2015. To be specific, in October 2016, gun dealers requested 10,000 background checks of potential gun buyers, as opposed to 7,000 background checks in October 2015. In addition, FBI background checks nearly doubled between 2000 and 2015, with 39,000 checks done in 2000 and 70,000 firearm-related background checks completed in 2015.
When a person purchases a handgun, rifle, or shotgun from a licensed gun dealer in New Jersey, the dealer must run the customer’s information through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) in order to check the criminal background of the customer. However, the FBI check is only one aspect of legally purchasing a firearm in New Jersey. In fact, in addition to the NICS check, the dealer must ensure that the customer has obtained a firearms purchaser identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun before initiating the sale of any handgun, rifle, or shotgun in NJ.
Under New Jersey’s gun laws, any person purchasing a rifle or a shotgun must possess a valid firearms purchaser identification card and any person purchasing a handgun must have a permit to purchase a handgun. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3a states that “no person shall sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of, nor receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire a handgun unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or has first secured a permit to purchase a handgun…” In addition, N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3b states that “no person shall sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of nor receive, purchase or otherwise acquire [a rifle or shotgun] unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, and first exhibits said card to the seller, donor, transferor or assignor…”