The number of background checks performed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has climbed from around 8.5 million in 2000 to more than 23 million in 2015. Gun ownership is a long held tradition in the United States and with numbers like these, citizens are increasingly taking ownership of their family’s safety and security.
But there is a potential storm on the horizon for gun owners in this country; a Hillary Clinton presidency. In this article, I am going to take you through the onerous and prescriptive gun laws in the state of New Jersey. I’ve picked the Garden State as the representative of what is to come under a Clinton administration because it does not have the most stringent gun laws in the nation. It is, however, somewhere in the middle of the top 4 worst in the country (California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey). So I think starting in the middle is a good gauge for what we can expect as a bare minimum with Hillary.
Concealed Carry Permits
Rule #1 about carry permits in New Jersey – there are no carry permits in New Jersey
Concealed carry permits are restricted to former law enforcement and licensed private security contractors or armored car companies. Ordinary citizens do have the right to apply for concealed carry permits, but without having been a police officer or obtaining a letter of need from a licensed contractor, you will not be approved. Note: Security contractors are issued conditional permits, meaning the firearm may only be carried on duty.
The exemption for private citizens to obtain a carry permit is by demonstrating that there is justifiable need to do so. The applicant must justify that need to their local chief law enforcement officer and a superior court judge. In the past, residents have used credible threats or occupations that present an extraordinary level of danger as reasons to request a carry permit. But even in those situations, nearly all are denied. On average, NJ issues less than 1,000 concealed carry permits annually. That number includes retired law enforcement and security contractors.
Firearms Identification Cards
Before you can purchase a firearm in NJ, you have to go to your local police department and apply for a Firearms Identification Card (FID). The police department will perform a criminal background check, mental health records check and obtain satisfactory references from two acquaintances of yours. You most also go to a digital fingerprinting site and be printed ($70).
Generally, this process takes 3 months to 1 year. Once you received your FID, it allows you to purchase ammo, rifles and shotguns.
The FID does not expire, however, if you move, you have to be issued a new FID. That means you have to go through the entire process again and you do not get to keep your FID card while the new investigation is underway.
Pistol Purchase Permits
So, you want to buy a pistol? Bend over.
Permits to purchase pistols (P2P) are just as hard to get as your FID. You go to your local police department (once you’ve been previously approved for an FID) and submit the application. A criminal and mental health background check is completed and you can expect your permit in 3 months to 1 year.
Once approved, the pistol permit is only good for 90 days. You can apply for as many as 3 at a time, but you can only purchase 1 pistol every 30 days in New Jersey.
New Jersey loves doing background checks! So much so, that they have a State Police unit that intercepts all NICS requests. That’s right, NJ does not allow FFL’s to go directly to NICS to process checks. The information is sent to the NJ State Police, who forward the request on to NICS themselves. Why is that a burden? Well, you see, the NJ State Police’s firearms unit does not keep the same hours as NICS. You want to buy a gun on a bank holiday in NJ? Yea, right!
Background checks are done when you apply for your FID, for every pistol permit AND every time you actually purchase a firearm from an FFL. You could be issued your FID, walk across the street to a gun store, ask to purchase a shotgun and have to wait for the NJ State Police to approve you.
New Jersey has a 15 rounds magazine capacity limit for all firearms. This sometimes makes purchasing the firearm of your choice, difficult. The Glock 17 (one of the most popular pistols in the world), until recently, was only sold with two magazine capacity types; 17 rounds or 10 rounds.
This is a common problem in NJ, where, except for Hexmag, no major magazine manufacturer makes 15 round rifle magazines. Magpul (one of the most popular magazines on the market), makes a 10, 20, 30 and 45 round version of it’s famous P-Mag.
NJ rifle owners have a few options in regards to rifle magazines.
- Purchase the standard 10 round magazines
- Purchase a modified 15 round magazine from an FFL (who will tack on a generous mark-up for the compliance work)
- Go out of state to purchase illegal magazines and do the compliance work yourself
Here’s the catch about the compliance work though, it’s not as simple as placing a reducing block into the bottom of the magazine. The modifications must be permanent; either pinned in place or epoxied. Also, the base plate must be permanently attached, making cleaning nearly impossible.
Are you voting Republican yet? Wait, there is more.
Swim at your own risk!
New Jersey has some of the most strict firearms transportation laws in the country. Essentially, everything has to be in a locked case, ammunition separated from firearms and magazines unloaded.
Here’s the really tricky part though. NJ law says that you can only transport firearms from your house, to the range (or FFL), range to your house with NO unnecessary deviations. What is necessary, you ask? Well, NJ courts have held that eating, defecating and changing a tire are not necessary.
Modern Sporting Rifles
- Muzzle breaks must be pinned and welded on.
- Barrels must be 16″ in total length including muzzle break.
- Flash hiders and suppressors are illegal.
- Stocks must be permanently pinned in place.
- Total length may not be less than 26″
- Also, remember those magazine limits!
Hollow point ammunition is strictly forbidden in NJ outside the home. You may keep hollow points in your pistol on your property, but leave your property and you’re risking your freedom for a long time!
Also, carry permit holders (even retired police officers) are not permitted to carry hollow points.
Smart (Dumb) Guns
The goal of the law was to spur “research, development and manufacture” of smart guns, according to its sponsor, New Jersey state Sen. Loretta Weinberg. But in practice, supporters and critics of the law now agree, that has not been the case.
FFL’s from across the nation have banned together to not offer smart guns for sale in their stores. This law is still in effect, and the fear is that once a single NJ FFL deviates from the pack and begins selling smart guns, the state will begin to enforce it’s bans on conventional firearms.
In summary, gun owners across the country don’t have a real choice in the upcoming fall election. The only choice is to vote Republican, regardless of how you feel about the candidate. I realize that is a slippery slope to climb, but we all know that the second amendment is the foundation that the entire bill of rights is built on. A vote across the aisle, this year, is certain to put the final nail in the coffin the left is building for our gun rights.