New Jersey, USA Gun Info

Forums

    NJ Gun Forums - Good information for gun owners in New Jersey, USA.

        The NJ Gun Forum for new firearms owners - best place to start searching for, or asking, NJ-specific gun questions (safety, storage, transportation, permits, training, etc.)


NJ Gun Organizations

    The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) - It is what it's name says, but you should also know is that this association is active in many aspects of NJ gun ownership, including legal battles, pending legislation, training, and more.  Based at the Cherry Ridge Range.


    New Jersey 2nd Amendment Society - a membership-based group that fights for 2nd Amendment rights in NJ.  Sometimes does controversial stuff.


NJ Gun Clubs

    The NJ Gun Forum for Ranges and Gun Shops - where to find gun ranges and gun shops in New Jersey


    Citizen's Rifle and Revolver Club (CRRC) - It's not the fanciest, newest, most active, or most progressive gun club in NJ.  But it's the one I belong to. Active in bullseye shooting, junior rifle, and junior pistol.


    Old Bridge Rifle and Pistol Club (OBRPC) - Another club in central NJ.  Active in action shooting sports.


    Central Jersey Rifle & Pistol Club - Probably the largest, nicest (and most expensive) club in central NJ.


    Somerset County Fish & Game Protective Association (SCFGPA) - Another club. Never accepting new members. Active in bullseye and with junior pistol.


    Lake Island Rifle & Pistol Club - Small indoor range that looks like a regular house. Active in bullseye.


    Cherry Ridge - The range operated by ANJRPC.


    Riverdale Pistol Range - Indoor range. Active in bullseye.


NJ Gun Shops (mostly in Central New Jersey)

    The NJ Gun Forum for Ranges and Gun Shops - where to find gun ranges and gun shops in New Jersey


    Heritage Guild   - 3 locations: Easton, PA, Branchburg, NJ, and Rahway, NJ -  Easton has a public gun range and firearms rentals and lots of guns and accessories for sale and holds firearms training classes.  Branchburg has firearms and accessories for sale, but no gun range.  I've never been to the Rahway location.  Both Branchburg and Easton sell bows and archery accessories and both have indoor archery ranges and hold archery training classes.  Prices on guns are high, sometimes crazy-high.  Prices on ammo are hit-and-miss. Prices on accessories are usually good. Folks in Easton are pretty good.  Archery folks in Branchburg are good.  But the firearms folks in Branchburg are extremely bad (bad knowledge, bad advice, bad attitude); avoid them.


    RTSP  in Randolph - Has a public gun range and firearms rentals. Staff were very nice. Range is nice, but can be crowded.  Small inventory of accessories.  Holds firearms training classes.


    Cheyenne Mountain Outfitters   in Bordentown - I have purchased both firearms and ammo here, and I'm luke-warm about them.  Sale prices can be very good, regular prices are mediocre. Some of the people there are very nice, some are less than helpful.  The guy we bought a gun from in Nov 2015 was great.


    Dick's Sporting Goods   (several locations) - Sells ammo in common calibers and a limited selection of accessories.  Ammo prices can be good on .22LR or when there are sales, but otherwise, they are a bit pricey.


    Cheyenne Firearms   in Manville - Just a guy with an FFL, running a small business out of his house, but he was good to me.  I have used him as an FFL for transfers.  Reasonable FFL fee.  Does limited gunsmithing (mostly making AR's NJ-legal).


    Sportsman's Rendezvous   in Flemington - I have purchased both firearms and ammo here.  Service was fine, but they're not what you'd call helpful.  Sometimes prices on firearms and ammo are great, sometimes not good at all.  They want to see a handgun purchase permit (not just an FPID card) to even take a handgun out of the case and let you hold it, which is ridiculous, crazy and super-annoying.  They have a decent selection of accessories, though.


    Lou's Firearms   in Raritan - Strange inventory; mostly firearms, lots of old, expensive shotguns.  Mostly run by 2 guys; one is nice and helpful, other is obnoxious and acts like he's doing you a huge favor to do business with you.  Occasionally has a good deal, but mostly prices are on the high side.


    Efingers  in Bound Brook - I have purchased both firearms and ammo here.  Service has been good.  Prices are sometimes reasonable, but sometimes high.  Efingers went of business in December 2016.


    The NJ Gun Forum for current NJ gun laws - it is what the name says it is

        Specifically the NJ Gun Law FAQ thread is the most complete and comprehensible discussion of NJ Gun Laws that I've ever seen.  Start there if you law questions.


    The NJ State Police firearms page - It's sloppy (lots of typos, bad cut-and-paste errors, etc.) and the links to the actual legal text bring you to the wrong statutes, and it's "not legal advice"... but it does have some useful forms for downloading, and it's better than the nothing you'll probably get from your local police, or all the uninformed hearsay you'll get from the staff at local gun shops.  It's required reading for responsible NJ gun owners.


    Evan Nappen website.  Evan Nappen is a high-profile lawyer who is an expert in NJ gun laws.  He sells a book about NJ gun laws.  He represents clients.  He seems to be well-respected by the NJ gun community.


    NJ Gun Laws Section 2C:39-1 - This section provide the legal definitions of things like "Firearm", "Handgun", and "Assault firearm" in NJ.  This is the section that includes the (in)famous "substantially identical" phrasing. That website is pretty awful, so good luck trying to navigate it. 


    NJ Gun Laws Section 2C:39-5 and -6 - These sections describe who can possess firearms in NJ and how they can be used.  Some commonly discussed parts include 2C:39-5, subsections b and c, and 2C:39-6, subsections e, f, and g.  Section 2C:39-6 subsection g is the part about transporting guns that includes the ever-so-vague phrase "only such deviations as are reasonably necessary".


Information for Prospective Gun Owners in NJ

The NJ Gun Forum for new firearms owners - best place to start searching for, or asking, NJ-specific gun questions (safety, storage, transportation, permits, training, etc.)

New Jersey, USA, has some very peculiar laws and issues when it comes to firearms.  


First things first...You need to learn about NJ firearms laws.  There are NJ gun laws about purchasing guns, purchasing ammo, transporting guns in your vehicle, transporting certain types of ammo, storing guns in your home, what kinds of guns you can own, how many bullets the magazine of your gun can hold (15 rounds for rifles and pistols, 6 rounds for shotguns), and many other aspects of gun ownership and usage.  Unfortunately, NJ gun laws are often counter-intuitive (why can't you have adjustable stocks, and why does anyone care about bayonet lugs?), and vague (what does "substantially identical" even mean?), so you can't go by what's reasonable or rational to a normal person.  To make matters worse, NJ gun laws sometimes have extremely harsh minimum sentences (like 3-5 years in jail), so it pays to be informed.  The best place to start is the NJ Gun Forums NJ Gun Law FAQ. See the links above to find out more.


Second... You need a State of New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (a.k.a. firearms ID card or FPID card or FID card) to purchase long guns (rifles, shotguns) and to purchase handgun ammo.  It cannot be used to purchase a handgun, though.  Technically, you don't need it to purchase long-gun ammo, but some stores have their own policy about that (they require it for all ammo), and often it's not clear whether a particular ammo is handgun ammo or long-gun ammo (there are pistol-caliber rifles and handguns that shoot shotgun and rifle ammo, etc.).  Technically, you don't need it to possess a gun in NJ (maybe you moved into NJ already owning the guns, or inherited a gun).  Some NJ gun shops also have a policy where they won't let you touch/handle a gun that they are selling, unless you present your FPID card.  I've heard stories of policemen that believe you need to carry your FPID card with you while transporting firearms, even though the law says nothing of the sort.  You can debate the legal nuances and (in)appropriate usages of the NJ FPID card for hours, but the bottom line is, if you own a gun in NJ, you will need one sooner or later.  It takes months to get one, so, if you're even considering  possessing any firearm in NJ, you might as well start the process now!  To get an application, you have to go to your local police station and ask for it.  If you live somewhere that does not have a local police station, you have to go to the NJ State Police and ask for it. You will need to get fingerprinted and agree to release your mental health records to the police as part of this application process. You have to get a new FPID card if you ever lose or damage yours, or if your address changes... and that takes months (again).  When you finally get it, you should scan the front of your FPID card so you have an electronic copy (for use when making online ammo purchases, see below), and you should also laminate it to protect it (some people believe laminating may constitute illegally altering the card, but most do not read the law that way).


Third... To purchase a handgun, you need a handgun purchase permit (which is different than a Firearms Purchaser ID card).  This form is actually titled "State of New Jersey Permit to Purchase a Handgun & Form of Register", but most people call them handgun purchase permits, or just handgun permits.  This is a one-use-only piece of paper, meaning that you can use it to buy one and only one handgun, and then it's all used up.  If you want to buy another handgun, you need another handgun purchase permit.  The permit is only good for 90 days from when you get it (although you can, in most towns, have it extended for 90 more days if you request an extension before it expires).  Once it expires, it's completely useless.  And you can't buy more than 1 handgun every 30 days.  And it takes months to get a handgun purchase permit, so you need to plan ahead, and apply for your permits as soon as you are even considering buying a handgun.  You get the application for the handgun purchase permit from your local police station, too. It's actually the same form as the application for the FPID card, so you can apply for handgun purchase permits at the same time you are applying for your FPID card.  You can get more than one at a time, but since the handgun purchase permits only last a max of 180 days, and you can only buy one handgun every 30 days, it's pointless to get more than a few at a time.  You can keep re-applying for them every few months to keep one on hand at all times, or you have to re-apply and wait for months, every time you want to buy a handgun.  Either way, it's incredibly annoying.


Fourth... You need to find someplace to shoot.  There are some public ranges, where you can pay by the hour to shoot, but that gets expensive quickly (about a thousand dollars per year, if you shoot a few times per month).  There are some clubs with ranges, but they're all expensive to join (think hundreds of dollars in one-time up-front costs, and then hundreds of dollars every year in membership dues), and with many of them, the membership application process can take months to complete, if they are even accepting new members. See the links above for lists of ranges and clubs.


Fifth... You need to buy ammo.  This is actually one of the easier aspects of gun ownership in NJ.  You can buy ammo from stores, like local gun shops or sporting goods stores, and from Dick's Sporting Goods.  Note that Walmart does not sell ammo in NJ, even though they do in most other states.  You can order ammo online, and have it shipped to you (most online retailers will ask for an electronic copy of the front of your FPID card... that's why you need to scan it and have that electronic copy handy).  You can buy ammo from stores in Pennsylvania, and bring it home.  There are special legal restrictions on hollow-point ammo in NJ, though, so you need to read up on those (see links, above).  See my Ammo Prices pages for information about how much ammo costs, and where you can buy it online.


What kinds of firearms are legal to own in NJ?

There are all kinds of bizarre and irrational rules about what kinds of guns you can or cannot own in New Jersey.  Whether you're talking about bayonet lugs, adjustable stocks, flash hiders, flash suppressors, muzzle brakes, compensators, pistol grips, barrel length, threaded barrels, magazine capacity, what guns are explicitly banned, or what's "substantially identical" to a banned gun... the best advice that I can give you is... ask at your local gun shop (LGS) in New Jersey.  Since they cannot legally sell you a gun that is illegal for you to own in NJ, they are surprisingly knowledgeable about what you can and cannot legally own. Obviously, if you buy a gun from a dealer in another state, whether online or from an actual store, (which is perfectly legal, provided it is transferred through an FFL in NJ), you need to take a more active role in determining that the gun you're buying is legal for you to own in NJ, so do your research.  Note that some manufacturers make special versions of popular guns that are "state compliant".  Such "state compliant" firearms are intended to be legal in most states and municipalities that have restrictive gun ownership laws, like NJ, but they are not usually NJ-specific. As such, they will almost always be restricted to 10 rounds in the magazine, even though NJ allows 15, because there are other states with 10-round limits.  They will also have fixed stocks, no threads on the barrel, and other, similar restrictions.  It's annoying and ridiculous, but that's the current state of affairs.


What is an FFL, and what is it for?

An FFL is a Federal Firearms License, and people who hold those licenses are called FFLs, so "an FFL" can refer to a piece of paperwork or a person.  When transferring ownership of a gun (i.e. buying or selling a gun), the transfer needs to happen via an FFL (with few exceptions in NJ).  The basic steps to buying a gun (assuming you already have the permits described above) are:

  • You (the buyer) pay the seller (retailer/store/individual) for the gun
  • You locate an FFL in your state who agrees to perform the transfer for you
  • You obtain a copy of the FFL's license paperwork (electronically or on paper)  The license paperwork contains their name, license number, and address.
  • You tell the seller which FFL you would like to use, and forward the FFL license paperwork to the seller
       Side Note: Some retailers retain copies of the FFL licenses they've been sent. So if you use a popular FFL, the seller may already have it on file, and thus not require you to obtain it and send it to them.
  • The seller ships the gun to the FFL (it's illegal for the seller to ship the gun directly to you)
  • Wait for the gun to be shipped to the FFL
  • You go to the FFL's location (bring your permits and money)
  • You examine the gun.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP IN YOUR EXCITEMENT!  If the gun has been damaged during shipping, or is not as described by the seller, NOW is your time to reject it.
  • You fill out a bunch of paperwork
  • You pay the FFL for the background check ($16)
  • The FFL requests the background check (in NJ, this is a call to the NJ State Police, who perform both a state-level background check, and the federal-level NICS check)
       Note: The background check can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 days, but usually takes 2-4 hours. So be prepared to leave and come back later, possibly the next day.
  • You pay the FFL a transfer fee
       Side Note; Transfer fees are around $30 - $80. They can charge whatever they feel like, so it pays to shop around
  • The FFL gives you the gun, and your copy of the transfer paperwork (keep this).

Why all the rigmarole with the FFL?  Well, the FFL is responsible for things like:

  • Ensuring you have the proper paperwork
    • A handgun purchase permit if the transfer involves a handgun
    • An FPID card if it involves a long gun
  • They are not supposed to transfer a gun to you if that gun is not legal to own in NJ. (But this is a terrible time to learn this, so make sure before you buy it.)
  • They request the background check via the NJ State Police
  • They keep records of the transfer
  • They send paperwork to the state for each transfer

If all of this sounds expensive and annoying, you're right.  It is.  If it deters you from owning a gun in NJ, well, that's pretty much the main objective of the NJ gun laws, as far as I can tell. I think you should persevere through all the nonsense, and own and enjoy your guns, but that's just me.  It's not for everyone.