Debate Continues Over Concealed Carry Reciprocity in New Jersey
The United States House of Representatives is currently considering legislation that would permit out-of-state residents to carry their concealed firearms in New Jersey, and many New Jersey residents have voiced either their support for or opposition to the proposed law. In fact, in an effort to combat the reciprocity law, at least six North Jersey towns have already adopted resolutions opposing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The supporters of the legislation opine that law-abiding citizens of other states should not become criminals in New Jersey simply by virtue of crossing over a state line, while the opponents note that New Jersey’s strict gun laws are in place for a good reason: to prevent gun-related violence. Moreover, opponents argue that a person who comes into NJ should be required to comply with state laws.
The proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 states, notwithstanding any provision of the law of any state or political subdivision thereof, except as provided herein and subject only to the requirements of this law, that a person who is not prohibited by federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, who is carrying a valid identification document containing a photograph of the person, and who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a state and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm or which entitles a person to carry a concealed firearm in the state in which the person resides, may possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machine gun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any state that has a statute under which residents of the state may apply for a license or permit to carry a concealed firearm; or does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the state for lawful purposes.
Regardless of the proposed reciprocity legislation, the fact remains that it is currently illegal for anyone to carry a handgun in New Jersey without a carry permit and it is illegal to transport a loaded handgun within the State of New Jersey, even if you lawfully possess the handgun in another state. According to the New Jersey Criminal Code, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, the unlawful possession of a handgun is a second degree crime. Thus, pursuant to New Jersey’s sentencing guidelines, a guilty conviction for the unlawful possession of a handgun imposes a sentence of 5-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Additionally, the Graves Act sets forth that, regardless of the defendant’s prior criminal history, a conviction for the unlawful possession of a handgun requires a mandatory minimum sentence, without parole eligibility.
If you are charged with a weapons offense, such as the unlawful possession of a weapon or the illegal possession of a handgun, you should consult with the experienced NJ weapons defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm. We are available 24/7 to help you fight your handgun possession charges. Contact us anytime.