New Gun Law Permits Retired Law Enforcement Officers to Carry Firearms in New Jersey
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed a new law that permits many former uniformed law enforcement officers to carry a firearm during retirement. Previously, only interstate, state, and local police officers, county sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers, and state or county park police officers were allowed to continue to carry their firearms into retirement. Now, as the result of the new law, retired police officers of the state park police, special agents of the Division of Taxation, Department of Human Services, NJ Transit, campus police officers employed by higher education institutions, state conservation officers, Palisades Interstate Park police officers, housing authority police officers, juvenile corrections officers, parole officers, and full-time Burlington County Bridge police officers will be permitted to carry guns into retirement. The retired cops will be allowed to carry the weapons until the age of 75. Additionally, all such officers must qualify by successfully completing periodic firearms proficiency exams.
Although the new gun law expands the list of retired law enforcement officers who can legally carry firearms, the fact remains that anyone in New Jersey who carries a handgun must have a permit. In fact, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b), “any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the second 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, it is a crime of the third degree.”
The bottom line is that carrying or possessing a handgun outside of one’s home without a carry permit in New Jersey will result in a charge for the unlawful possession of a handgun, which is a second degree crime. Even out-of-state residents who are merely travelling through New Jersey with a firearm that is legal in their home state can be charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm if the firearm is not being properly transported. In New Jersey, a conviction for second degree unlawful possession of a handgun is punishable by 5-10 years in state prison. Additionally, the Graves Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6, requires a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, with three years of parole ineligibility, except for exceptional circumstances in which the prosecution submits a Graves Act waiver.
If you have been charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon or the possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, you should call the New Jersey weapons defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm. We have successfully defended countless firearms cases in New Jersey and we are ready to fight for you.