Comparing Gun Laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Know Which State Has Stricter Gun Laws and What to Avoid if You’re From PA and Plan to Come to NJ

New Jersey vs. Pennsylvania Gun Laws Attorneys The last thing you want when visiting another state is a misunderstanding that leads to an arrest. That’s what may happen when you don’t know the gun laws in neighboring states. While you don’t have to memorize the laws of every state, you should know when and where you can have a firearm after crossing a state line. That way, you won’t find yourself in a jail cell wondering what to do. Knowing the law is especially significant in New Jersey, where gun laws can be tricky and unrelenting. New Jersey is serious about keeping firearm laws as strict and aggressively enforced as possible, so you must beware of the gun laws. New Jersey’s gun laws punish violators more severely than most other states. For example, New Jersey ranks number 7 in the nation for strong gun laws, while nearby Pennsylvania ranks 17th. So, if you drive from your Pennsylvania home to New Jersey, you might want to think twice about bringing your gun.

An arrest for ignorance of the rules in another state is heartbreaking, particularly since it happens so often to good people who think they’re simply exercising their gun rights under the Second Amendment. If you run across legal trouble because you weren’t aware of the laws in New Jersey compared to Pennsylvania, you can count on a New Jersey gun attorney at The Tormey Law Firm for help. Get a free consultation regarding your gun case by contacting us at (201)-614-2474 or request a free consultation online today.

PA vs. NJ Extreme Risk Laws

Overall, New Jersey requires everyone within its borders to always think about safety and prevention when buying, handling, storing, and using a gun. For example, New Jersey has an Extreme Risk law, while Pennsylvania does not. Such a law allows family members and law enforcement to petition the court for an extreme risk protective order to remove firearms from someone who is believed to be an immediate threat to self or others. In addition, anyone with a domestic violence restraining order against them may not have guns.

Contrasting PA and NJ Gun Laws Regarding Safe Storage and Accountability

New Jersey also has laws requiring safe storage and child access prevention regarding firearms. When traveling with a gun or keeping one in a household with children, you must lock the firearm in a secure container (childproof at home), away from the ammunition. Additionally, you must report lost, missing, or stolen guns to the police. Pennsylvania does not have such storage and reporting laws.

Distinguishing Illegal Guns in NJ vs. PA

The state of NJ also bans assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and restricts ghost guns since all guns and parts must have serial numbers to prevent a gun purchase without a background check. Furthermore, the gun industry is not protected. It has no immunity when breaking the laws and is subject to prosecution and lawsuits. Pennsylvania has no corresponding rules.

Comparison of Self-Defense Laws in PA and NJ

Pennsylvania has a Shoot First or Stand Your Ground law, which allows gun owners to shoot someone in self-defense despite having a way to escape a perceived threat. New Jersey does not have a Shoot First law, which is seen as leading to an increase in gun violence in states that have these laws. Moreover, New Jersey bars police from using deadly force to enforce the law unless serious bodily harm would occur otherwise.

NJ vs. PA Approach to Firearm Licensing and Enforcement

New Jersey law enforcement plays a critical role in the licensing and enforcement of firearms and firearm laws. New Jersey state police may deny a gun permit on safety grounds and reject an applicant who does not have proof of firearm safety training and handling. Since Pennsylvania does not mandate permits to purchase handguns, shotguns, or rifles, someone from the state may not expect that New Jersey does. New Jersey requires a firearms purchase identification card to buy a gun and a seller certification of the buyer’s identity. You must have a license to purchase or carry a firearm. Only carry permits are required in Pennsylvania for those who want to carry their handgun beyond their residence or place of business.

Moreover, New Jersey does not honor out-of-state permits. So, the New Jersey police may arrest a Pennsylvania resident after crossing the state line with a gun. Since they cannot show proof of a firearms purchase identification card or carry permit from the state of NJ, the Pennsylvania visitor violates New Jersey’s gun possession laws by possessing their PA firearm. And contrary to Pennsylvania’s gun laws, New Jersey restricts the locations where someone can carry a firearm, even with a carry permit. You cannot bring a gun into a bar, among many other sensitive places, like hospitals, shopping malls, and publicly owned facilities. Pennsylvania has none of these laws.

Pennsylvania Unique Exceptions to Gun Control Laws

On the other hand, Pennsylvania has stricter laws in a few instances. For one, Pennsylvania does not allow those convicted of misdemeanor violent offenses (disorderly persons offense in New Jersey) to purchase firearms. So, a simple assault conviction, even though no one inflicted serious bodily harm, could mean no guns for the convicted. Also, New Jersey does not have a failed background check police notification requirement, as Pennsylvania does.

What Pennsylvania Residents Should Know about Illegally Possessed Guns in New Jersey

As a Pennsylvania resident traveling to nearby New Jersey, you may find that ignorance of the gun laws can be your downfall. While Pennsylvania and New Jersey have some similar gun laws regarding background checks and other safety provisions, New Jersey has far more gun laws and stricter ones than Pennsylvania. New Jersey does not restrict local municipalities from enacting their own gun laws either. In the wide body of New Jersey weapons laws contained in the New Jersey Statutes, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 is the law on handgun possession without a firearms purchaser identification card or a permit.

It is a second degree crime, punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, to have a handgun without the proper license. It is a third degree crime to have a shotgun or rifle without a firearms purchase identification card. You could go to prison for 3 to 5 years for violating the provision of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 related to shotguns, rifles, and BB guns. And since New Jersey’s Graves Act requires gun crime defendants to spend at least 42 months or one-third to one-half of their sentence behind bars, an unlawful gun possession conviction for a Pennsylvania resident is exceptionally harsh.

Contact Our Firm if You are a PA or NJ Citizen Facing Legal Issues with New Jersey’s Strict Gun Laws

If you got arrested or are facing legal trouble after a run in with law enforcement involving New Jersey gun laws, solid legal representation can help. A New Jersey gun defense lawyer at The Tormey Law Firm can potentially circumvent the Graves Act with a waiver in Cumberland County, Cape May County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, Burlington County, Mercer County, Camden County, and other counties in New Jersey. If you lawfully own your firearm in Pennsylvania and did not attempt to conceal it from the police when they stopped you, an attorney on our legal team can often make a sympathetic case for you to a prosecutor and judge. We are skilled at obtaining Graves Act waivers, plea bargaining for a lesser charge or sentence, helping our clients get probation, and using the Pre-Trial Intervention Program option whenever possible for clients with clean criminal records. Our gun lawyers may even be able to get the charges dismissed if the police did not follow the laws in stopping and arresting you. Regardless of your concerns about gun rights and responsibilities in NJ compared to PA, you can count on our well-versed attorneys for trusted legal guidance. Talk to a gun lawyer on our team by calling (201)-614-2474 for a confidential and free consultation.