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Tough punishment of weapons crimes stem from state gun laws

Proposed legislation involving gun ownership has been at the forefront of recent media coverage. Given that scrutiny, it is important for New Jersey readers to understand applicable laws regarding gun ownership and carrying a concealed weapon.

Notably, the New Jersey State Police offer an informational resource on their website. As background, that site acknowledges that firearm laws applicable to New Jersey residents are a mix of both state and federal statutes, as well as administrative codes, state Attorney General guidelines and court precedents.

To purchase a handgun, a resident must apply for a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card at his or her local police department. Firearms generally cannot be carried in a concealed fashion. If transported, the firearm should be carried unloaded and in a separate case in the trunk of the vehicle.  

Given these strict laws concerning the mere possession of firearms, it is no surprise that state criminal laws aggressively punish actions involving weapons. For example, an offense is generally considered aggravated if a weapon was involved. In the specific example of aggravated assault, the addition of a weapon may implicate up to ten years in prison in the event of a conviction. The charge applies regardless of whether the incident occurred in a bar, on the street, in a domestic quarrel, or in other contexts. 

Our law firm focuses on criminal defense, including aggravated charges. We have represented many defendants accused of aggravated assault. Unfortunately, the charge of aggravated assault may apply even if the attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another was unsuccessful. However, it is the prosecutor’s burden of proof to establish the defendant's intent. If the accused was engaged in a consensual fight or acting in self-defense, the prosecutor might be unable to establish that intent element.

Source: New Jersey State Police, “Firearms Information,” copyright 2015, State of New Jersey

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