New Jersey

New Jersey Law

NEW JERSEY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FIREARM PROHIBITIONS

New Jersey Domestic Violence Firearm Purchase and Possession Prohibitions

New Jersey prohibits persons convicted of, among other things, a crime involving *domestic violence, or a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence (whether or not they were armed with or had in their possession a weapon) from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm.1

Under New Jersey law, an individual must have a permit to “receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire a handgun” and an individual must have a firearm purchaser identification card to “receive, purchase or otherwise acquire an antique cannon or rifle or shotgun … unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder … possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card[.]”2 No permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall be issued “to any person who has been convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence” (whether or not they were armed with or possessed a weapon at the time of the offense).3

A judge issuing an ex parte domestic violence restraining order may forbid “the defendant from possessing any firearm or other weapon[.]”4

New Jersey prohibits persons subject to final domestic violence restraining orders “from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a firearm and from receiving or retaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun” for the duration of the order or two years, whichever is greater.5

No permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall be issued to any person who is subject to a domestic violence restraining order prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm.6

NEW JERSEY CIVIL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDER FIREARM REMOVAL

Domestic Violence Civil Restraining Orders that Require Removal

A judge issuing an ex parte domestic violence restraining order may order the removal of firearms or other weapons and firearms purchaser identification cards or permits to purchase handguns from the subject of the order.7

A final domestic violence restraining order shall require the removal of firearms or other weapons from the subject of the order.8

Individuals Who May Petition for a Civil Domestic Violence Restraining Order

A victim of domestic violence may petition for a temporary or final domestic violence restraining order.9

“Victim of domestic violence” is defined as:

  1. “Any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member[;]” or
  2. “Any person, regardless of age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common, or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant …[or] by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.”10

Removal Process

A judge issuing an ex parte domestic violence restraining order may “order[] the search for and seizure of any firearm or other weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located and the seizure of any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the defendant[.]”11

If the ex parte domestic violence restraining order requires the surrender of any firearm or other weapon:

  1. “[A] law enforcement officer shall accompany the defendant, or may proceed without the defendant if necessary, to the scene of the domestic violence or any other location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant is located, to ensure that the defendant does not gain access to any firearm or other weapon, and that the firearm is appropriately surrendered in accordance with the order[;]”12
  2. “If the order prohibits the defendant from returning to the scene of domestic violence or any other location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant is located, any firearm or other weapon located there shall be seized by a law enforcement officer.”13

A final domestic violence restraining order “shall require the immediate surrender of any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant […]. A law enforcement officer shall accompany the defendant, or may proceed without the defendant if necessary, to any place where any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant is located to ensure that the defendant does not gain access to any firearm or other weapon, and a law enforcement officer shall take custody of any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant. If the order prohibits the defendant from returning to the scene of domestic violence or other place where firearms or other weapons belonging to the defendant are located, any firearm or other weapon located there shall be seized by a law enforcement officer.”14

A court issuing a final domestic violence restraining order “may also issue an order prohibiting the defendant from possessing any other weapon […] and ordering the search and seizure of any firearm or other weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located.”15

Exemption from the Removal Requirement

The prohibition on possession of a firearm or other weapon while subject to an ex parte domestic violence restraining order “shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.”16

The requirement to surrender or remove a firearm, firearms purchaser identification card, or permit “shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.”17

Penalties for Violation

A person who is subject to a court order prohibiting the possession of firearms who purchases, owns, possesses, or controls a firearm is guilty of a crime of the third degree, punishable by imprisonment between three and five years, and a fine or restitution not to exceed $15,000.18

This page was updated September 11, 2018. Please note that data used are the most recent available data.