If you have certain types of criminal convictions on your record, your right to own and possess a firearm in New Jersey may be limited. You have to obtain a permit to purchase a gun, as well as an additional permit to carry a handgun, which is extremely difficult to get. As part of this process, you have to go through a background check and answer questions about your criminal history.
Why Would I be Denied a Gun Permit in New Jersey?
You will be denied a gun permit if you have any of the following charges on your record:
(1) A conviction for aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, and several other indictable offenses;
(2) A conviction for a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense that involves domestic violence; or
(3) Certain types of juvenile convictions, including those involving weapons and destructive devices
In other words, the majority of disorderly persons offense convictions will not result in a permanent inability to get a gun in New Jersey. However, if you have a more serious, indictable offense conviction, your options may be more limited. A more exhaustive list of reasons for a gun permit denial is provided here.
Expungement to Obtain a Gun Permit in NJ
Just because you have been convicted of a crime does not automatically mean that you can never own a gun. In some circumstances, you may be able to take steps to expunge your record so that the criminal conviction is removed. There are many benefits to taking a conviction off of your record, and gun ownership is just one of them. Criminal charges can affect your employment, housing, family, and more. If you want to move on from your conviction and are interested in obtaining a permit to purchase a handgun, you may want to look further into getting your criminal record in New Jersey expunged.
The application to obtain a gun permit asks specifically about your criminal history. However, it does not ask you to disclose information that has been “expunged or sealed.” A conviction, arrest, or criminal charge that has been approved for expungement will be removed from all records within a court, correctional facility, law enforcement, or criminal justice agency. Notably, an expungement will remove the charges from your record so they do not appear on background check. However, law enforcement agencies that search your background – including police departments who run background checks when reviewing gun permit applications – will still be able to access the information. Regardless of this reality, having an expungement granted and being able to answer “no” on a gun permit application when asked if you have a charge that has not been expunged or sealed can be a significant benefit.
You must file a separate petition for expungement to get this process started, and need to ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements. Indictable convictions have a six-year waiting period and disorderly persons offenses have a five-year waiting period before they can be expunged. This only applies to convictions, meaning if your case was resolved in another way, such as through Conditional Discharge, you can apply for an expungement six months after successfully completing the program. You should keep in mind that some convictions cannot be expunged, such as those for false imprisonment, kidnapping, or homicide.
Expunge my Record to Get an NJ Firearm Permit
If you have already been convicted of a criminal offense in New Jersey and you would like help with the expungement process to best position yourself for a gun permit application approval, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today. A member of our team is available to provide you with additional information in a free consultation.