The rise of mass shootings over the past five years has heightened gun control awareness and it continues to be a hotly debated topic. Since Governor Phil Murphy took office in January 2018, he has pushed to increase firearm restrictions.
Even before Governor Murphy took office, New Jersey was considered to have some of the most restrictive gun laws in America. This holds true today. So, what are some of the laws that make New Jersey so strict?
- Age and state ID: To be considered to buy a gun, you must have a legal New Jersey state ID that says you are over the age of 21. The only exception to this rule is if you are over the age of 18 and your job needs you to use a firearm.
- Firearm Purchaser Identification card: Anyone wanting to buy a firearm needs to obtain a Firearm Purchaser ID. This allows you to have a gun in the home and take it to authorized places. This ID is typically used for rifles and shotguns.
- Handgun purchasing limitations: If you were to buy a handgun, you would need a separate permit in addition to the Firearm Purchaser ID. To obtain a permit to purchase, your local Chief of Police must approve your permit. This is done by checking multiple references and doing an in-depth background check. This permit may be extended or revoked if the Chief of Police feels it is necessary.
- Background check and criminal history: In New Jersey, anyone convicted of a crime may not buy a gun without first completing the expungement and firearms rights restoration processes. Additionally, anyone on a terror watchlist may not purchase a gun. Purchasers must first go through a thorough background check before receiving permission from the state to buy a gun.
- Transporting guns: Outside of the home, firearms owners can only transport guns to authorized places. These locations include shooting ranges, blacksmiths and designated locations intended for hunting. Furthermore, during transport, the firearm is to be unloaded and kept in the trunk of the vehicle.
Since New Jersey has strengthened firearms purchase and possession laws, gun violence has decreased statewide. Although intended to improve gun safety and protect the general public, harsh gun laws can have unintended consequences for firearms owners.