New Jersey Laws on Flying with Guns

Experienced Defense Lawyers for Air Travel Firearms and Weapons Charges

Arrested for Flying with a Firearm NJ best defense If you’re considering flying with a gun in New Jersey, you must ensure that you are completely informed about all of the nuances in this area of law, as even a small misstep can result in serious criminal charges. In fact, it is wise to consult with an experienced New Jersey gun lawyer before attempting to fly with a gun. New Jersey has some of the strictest gun regulations in the nation, and many individuals violate them unknowingly. The majority of firearm-related arrests at Newark Liberty International Airport involve out-of-state residents who lawfully possess their guns in their home state.

Whether you are a New Jersey resident flying out of the state, you are flying into New Jersey to visit the Garden State or New York City, or you are simply transiting through an NJ airport on a connection to your final destination, it is critical that you fully understand the gun regulations you must abide by before bringing a firearm on a flight in New Jersey.

New Jersey has strict laws for air travel with firearms. If you’re facing charges for violating these laws, it’s important to understand the potential repercussions. Legal representation can be crucial in navigating your options and avoiding harsh consequences, including prison time. The team at The Tormey Law Firm is experienced in such cases, and we defend clients charged with illegally traveling with weapons in Somerset County, Morris County, Monmouth County, Union County, Middlesex County, Passaic County, Ocean County, Essex County, and other counties in New Jersey. Contact us at (201)-614-2474 for a free consultation to discuss your situation and explore legal possibilities.

Rules and Regulations for Flying with Guns in New Jersey

The United States Supreme Court recently struck down a New York law which required concealed-carry applicants to demonstrate proper cause before they could be granted a gun carry permit. The Court found that the requirement violated an individual’s 14th Amendment rights by preventing them from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. After this New York law was struck down, the ruling also invalidated another similar New Jersey law that had been on the books for years, requiring concealed-carry applicants to show a justifiable need to obtain a gun carry permit. The invalidation of this New Jersey law resulted in a significant expansion in the number of individuals eligible to obtain a gun carry permit in New Jersey.

However, there are several locations where possessing a firearm is subject to much stricter limitations, including airports. New Jersey law prohibits individuals from carrying guns in the drop-off and pickup areas outside of airports except to bring the firearm directly into the airport for declaration and check-in, pursuant to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules. Furthermore, New Jersey’s strict gun permit requirements and lack of reciprocity with any other state (New Jersey does not honor or recognize gun permits from any other state) make the state a legal landmine for out-of-state residents bringing a gun into the state.

The rules surrounding gun possession in an airport extend beyond New Jersey law and involve federal regulations that are strictly enforced by the TSA. Violating these regulations can result in federal criminal liability. Therefore, it is critical that gun owners educate themselves about their rights and the gun regulations they must observe in New Jersey and in airports throughout the United States.

Illegal Possession of a Gun at the Airport, On a Plane, or in Carry-On Baggage in NJ

Each year, TSA finds firearms in the carry-ons of thousands of travelers. If an individual lawfully possesses a firearm in New Jersey, then they have the right to transport the firearm, unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container, in their checked bag. They may not, however, transport a firearm, even if unloaded, on their person or in their carry-on luggage. In addition, travelers must declare their firearm when they present their luggage to be checked at the check-in counter.

If an individual brings a firearm through a TSA security checkpoint, they will face significant civil penalties. Furthermore, if they do not have a valid permit to carry a firearm in New Jersey, then they may also face criminal liability for unlawful possession of a weapon. This is a second degree offense that carries the potential of prison time of up to 10 years and up to $150,000 in fines if the person is arrested with a handgun.

However, even if the individual has a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon in New Jersey, they still may not bring it through a TSA screening or security checkpoint. Bringing a firearm through a checkpoint at the airport will result in a Notice of Violation and civil liability, including fines of up to $15,000 and revocation of TSA Precheck eligibility. In addition, a carry permit does not allow someone to carry their firearm on a plane.

Legal Risks of Unlawfully Flying to New Jersey with Firearms

If you are traveling from out-of-state with a firearm in New Jersey and do not have a valid New Jersey carry permit, you can be criminally charged for unlawful possession of a weapon if your weapon is discovered while you attempt to go through a security checkpoint or at any other location in the airport or state of New Jersey. This can even become a problem if you fly into the state of New Jersey with a firearm in your checked luggage. Even though it may have been lawful for you to possess the firearm in your home state and you properly checked the firearm according to federal TSA requirements, if you pick up that bag and leave the airport, you may be charged with unlawful possession of a weapon in New Jersey.

There is an exception to this rule if you are transiting through the airport. For example, let’s say you are flying from Florida to Maine to go moose hunting, and you check your unloaded firearm in a locked, hard-surface container, as required by federal regulations. If you have a two-hour layover in New Jersey in transit to Maine and you are not visiting or staying in New Jersey, then these circumstances would fall under the transit exception, and you would not be liable for unlawful possession of a firearm in New Jersey. In these circumstances, you should not leave the airport with your firearm.

However, if you decide to visit the Jersey shore for a few days or take a tour of New York City on your way to Maine and you leave the airport with your firearm, then you may be criminally charged for unlawful possession of the gun upon returning to the airport to check in for your flight to Maine.

Safely Transporting Ammunition in Checked Bags

In addition to firearms, ammunition must also be transported in your checked baggage and it cannot be accessible to a passenger in flight. Furthermore, any ammunition must be stored in the manufacturer’s packaging or another suitable packaging, which can include a hard-sided case with an unloaded firearm. It cannot just be transported loose in your luggage. Clips and magazines must be boxed in checked luggage or can be included within your locked case with your unloaded firearm.

Charged with Illegally Flying with a Gun in NJ? Our Attorneys can Assist You

If you are an otherwise law-abiding citizen, unexpectedly facing a gun possession charge in New Jersey after flying out of or into the state, it can be devastating and stressful. Under New Jersey’s Graves Act, individuals convicted of firearms offenses face mandatory minimum prison sentences before they are eligible for parole. Depending on the circumstances involving your gun charge, there may be various defenses available to you. Was your flight canceled during a 2-day snow blizzard, forcing you to stay at a hotel when you did not plan to stay in New Jersey before catching a connecting flight? This is just one example of the many factors that can influence a weapons case and the outcome. The totality of the circumstances and mitigating factors are important and must be assessed by an experienced New Jersey gun lawyer. For more information and a complimentary consultation regarding your concerns or charges involving flying with guns in New Jersey, please contact the Tormey Law Firm today at (201)-614-2474. We serve clients in Hudson County, Essex County, Warren County, Bergen County, Sussex County, and statewide.