There are Specific Requirements for Buying and Possessing Assault Weapons in NJ, as Well as Severe Consequences for Unlawful Possession.

New Jersey has strict laws regarding firearms. In order to own a firearm, you must go through an application process discussed later in this article.  It is illegal to purchase or own an assault weapon unless you have a specific permit. The terms assault rifle/pistol category refers to firearms that can be fired in bursts or completely automatically (as long as the trigger is pressed, the weapon will continue firing).

Main Features of An Assault Rifle in NJ

A semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine and any two features listed is considered an assault rifle.  Those features are a grenade launcher, bayonet mount, a pistol grip that sticks out under the weapon’s action, a flash suppressor, or a folding or telescoping stock. Also, it should have a range of 300 meters.

Distinctive Characteristics of an Assault Firearm

A semi-automatic pistol that has a detachable magazine and at least two of these features:  an ammunition magazine that attaches outside of the pistol grip, a threaded barrel designed for an extender, a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer, a weight of 50 ounces or more, and a shroud that allows the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without getting burned, and an automatic firearm that has been converted to a semi-automatic.

Examples of Firearms Categorized as Assault Weapons

Examples of assault weapons are Weaver Arms Nighthawk, Sterling MK-6, MK-7, SAR, PJK M-68 carbine type, Colt AR-15 and CAR-15 series, Bushmaster Assault Rifle, Armalite AR-180, CETME 63, and G35A. 

What Do I Need to Purchase or Possess an Assault Weapon in NJ?

If you want to purchase a firearm, you need an FPIC (Firearms Purchaser Identification Card).  If you want to purchase a handgun, you need a handgun purchaser permit and are allowed only one gun per permit.  If you want to carry your handgun, you must get a permit, which must be renewed every two years. You can also apply for an FPIC (Firearms Purchaser Identification Card), which allows unlimited shotgun and rifle purchases.

To begin the process, it is necessary to inform your local police department and obtain an Originating Agency Identification Number (AGI). The AGI is crucial, as an incorrect or missing number will result in an immediate denial of your application.  It is a sort of routing number assigned to each applicant. Following this, you will need to complete the Firearms Application and Registration System (FARS). The application requires you to provide various details, including your physical characteristics (such as height, weight, hair, and eye color), address, criminal history (including any involvement in domestic violence), and information regarding any mental illnesses that have led to your being hospitalized for conditions such as severe depression, or suicidal thoughts.

Additionally, you will be asked about substance abuse problems and need to disavow any interest in organizations seeking to overthrow the government. Several references, excluding relatives, must be provided, and you will also be required to undergo fingerprinting. You must also complete gun training, how to handle firearms safely, and target training.

To possess an assault weapon legally in New Jersey you must have a license for the assault weapon. This is not a standard handgun permit; you will also need a permit for an assault weapon, which is rarely issued in New Jersey except in very specific situations. To get a special permit for assault weapons, you must fill out an application with the county superior court, where the court determines if you are qualified.  The license has a two-year limit.

Steps to Register Assault Weapons in NJ

To register an assault weapon, you must apply for a license in the county where you live in the Superior Court, giving the reasons why you need a license.  The Court will give the application to the county prosecutor, who will conduct an investigation.  If the prosecutor does not find cause to deny the application, it will be sent to the chief police officer in the municipalities where the applicant intends to carry the assault firearm. You will not be granted a license if you do not qualify for a handgun permit.  If you are given a license, it must be renewed every year through the same process.

Regulations on the Possession and Transfer of Assault Weapons upon the Owner’s Death

According to N.J.A.C. 13:54-1.13, a permit to purchase a handgun or an FPIC is not required to receive a firearm as an heir or legatee.  The firearm may be kept permanently if the recipient meets the requirements for a permit.  If the recipient is not qualified, there is a 180-day period that can be used to sell the weapon.  If an extension of time is needed, the weapon can be placed in the custody of the chief of police or Superintendent while a buyer is found.

Legal Consequences For Unlawful Possession of Assault Firearms in NJ

The type of weapon possessed plays a crucial role in determining the degree of the offense. It also affects the application of mandatory sentencing guidelines, such as those outlined in the New Jersey Graves Act, that pertains to various firearms offenses. Usually, the deadlier a weapon can be, the more severe the penalties given.  That is to say, if you walked into a store with a weapon that is not a gun, you may be charged with a fourth degree crime, while if you came in with a handgun, you are facing second degree charges instead.

Charges for unlawful possession of assault weapons are considered second degree offenses, resulting in a five-to-ten-year sentence and a fine of up to $150,000.  There is a presumption of incarceration and due to the Graves Act, a mandatory minimum of 42 months, or one-half to one-third of your sentence, whichever is greater, that must be served before you are eligible for parole.

An Assault Firearm Defense Attorney in Morris County can Assist You

Weapons charges are a serious matter.  You need an attorney who knows the gun laws and can offer stellar representation.  Being proactive and getting an early start on preparing your case is to your advantage. Our attorneys are skilled, knowledgeable, and committed to building the best defense possible for your assault firearms charges.  We will explain step by step how we will use time-tested strategies to zealously defend you against assault weapons possession charges in East Hanover, Dover, Chatham, Parsippany, Morristown, Denville, Rockaway, and across Morris County and New Jersey.  If you need legal representation in this matter, call us today at 973-524-7238.