New Jersey Rifle Possession Lawyers
Weapons Charges Defense Attorneys in Hudson County, New Jersey
Possessing a rifle is legal in New Jersey, provided that you abide by the specific laws and requirements associated with these weapons. For example, in order to purchase and possess a rifle, you must apply for and obtain a valid New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. If you are found in possession of a rifle without a valid permit, you may be sentenced to between 3 and 5 years of incarceration. You may also face criminal weapons charges if you are found in possession of a loaded rifle, or if you do not abide by NJ laws regarding the transportation of a rifle. At The Tormey Law Firm, our highly experienced New Jersey weapons attorneys step in to defend your rights and your innocence when you are charged with a weapons offense.
Our team of skilled lawyers has successfully defended thousands of clients charged with criminal weapons offenses ranging from possession of prohibited weapons and devices to possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Our firm’s founder Travis J. Tormey, who has been named among the top 10 Criminal Attorneys under 40 in New Jersey by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, leads a formidable team of former gun prosecutors, former members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and a former member of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office’s Weapons Forfeiture Unit. We leverage our extensive knowledge and experience to achieve superior outcomes for clients in courts across New Jersey, including in Hudson, Mercer, Bergen, Essex, and Middlesex counties. Contact our offices today to receive your cost-free consultation and find the answers you need to protect your rights.
Rifles in New Jersey
In New Jersey, it is illegal to possess a rifle, unless you have a valid New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1, the term “rifle” can refer to “any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.” Note that a rifle is considered a firearm under NJ law.
Unlawful Possession of a Rifle
If you are found to illegally possess a rifle, you may be charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, which is outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. There are two potential scenarios in which you may be charged with unlawful possession of a rifle. The first applies when you are found in possession of a rifle without having obtained a firearms purchaser identification card. The other scenario applies when you are found in possession of a loaded rifle, unless you are otherwise permitted to do so. In either situation, unlawful possession of a rifle is a third degree crime, punishable by a sentence to serve between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Rifle Licenses in New Jersey
In order to purchase and possess a rifle in New Jersey, you must first obtain a New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. The application process involves you completing the necessary application form and submitting it to the Chief of Police at your local police department or the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. When reviewing your application, authorities will also conduct a comprehensive background check with the New Jersey State Police and FBI, a mental health records search, and an investigation by the local police. They will also require you to provide two references and to submit to fingerprinting. Under New Jersey law, the State is required to approve or deny your application within 30 days if you are a resident of New Jersey. If you are not a New Jersey resident, your application status should be determined within 45 days.
Notably, New Jersey does not restrict the number of rifles that you can purchase, provided that you possess a valid firearms purchaser identification card (N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3i).
Difference between Standard Rifles and Assault Rifles
It is important to understand that certain types of rifles deemed “assault rifles” under New Jersey law, cannot be possessed without a specific type of license, or if the weapon is rendered inoperable, or if it is register according to 2C:58-12. There is an extensive list of firearms that meet the criteria for assault firearms, as dictated by section 2C:39-1. Some of these weapons use the term “rifle” but are not recognized as the same as standard rifles by NJ law. For example, the Bushmaster Assault Rifle is technically an assault firearm. In addition, any semi-automatic rifle with a magazine capacity of greater than 10 rounds is considered an assault weapon. While a typical charge for unlawfully possessing a standard rifle is a third degree felony offense resulting in 3 to 5 years in prison, possession of an assault rifle is a second degree crime with penalties including 5 to 10 years of incarceration.
Prohibited Types of Rifles: Sawed-Off
New Jersey also recognizes sawed-off shotguns among the many prohibited weapons and devices. Specifically, any rifle with a barrel that measures from the breach to the muzzle as less than 16 inches is considered “sawed off.” Likewise, a rifle with a total measured length of fewer than 26 inches is prohibited in New Jersey. The length can be a result of specific actions to alter it, or by design, but the illegal nature of the weapon remains the same. An individual charged with possessing a prohibited rifle that qualifies as a sawed-off firearm may face third degree criminal charges and up to 5 years in state prison plus fines not to exceed $15,000. It is also illegal to sell a sawed-off rifle in the state.
Reasons You May Lose Your Right to Own a Rifle in New Jersey
Although New Jersey allows an individual to purchase and possess a rifle with a valid firearms purchaser identification card, there are certain situations in which you may lose your right to own a rifle or any other firearm. The first reason is a felony conviction, as some felonies disqualify you from possessing weapons if you are found guilty. New Jersey recognizes certain persons not to have weapons, which include those convicted of crimes such as robbery and aggravated sexual assault. Being convicted of one of these crimes can mean that previously legally acquired rifles become illegal for you to possess. Also, possessing a rifle as a certain person is a second degree crime with penalties including up to 10 years in prison.
The second reason you may lose your rifle and your right to have one is a restraining order being issued against you. In fact, your weapons may be seized upon issuance of a restraining order and permanently forfeited. It is common for those with legal weapons like rifles to lose their weapons and their weapons rights after being convicted of domestic violence offenses or becoming the subject of a restraining order. Lastly, the implementation of the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act allows a persons weapons to be confiscated if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others while in possession of a weapon. A temporary or final extreme risk protective order in effect, the defendant cannot possess a rifle or any other firearm.
Contact our Jersey City Weapons Charges Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you have questions regarding the purchase or possession of a rifle in New Jersey or you are facing criminal charges related to a rifle, contact our New Jersey weapons attorneys at (201)-614-2474 to find the answers to your questions and receive a free consultation.