Is It Legal To Possess A Handgun Without A Carry Permit in New Jersey?

Our Accomplished NJ Gun Lawyers Are Ready to Help You

It is unlawful to possess a handgun outside of your residence without a carry permit unless an exemption applies. You need to hire a skilled NJ gun attorney if you have been charged with unlawful possession of a handgun.NJ law generally prohibits possession of a handgun anywhere outside the home without a carry permit. There are, however, limited exemptions under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6 that allow an individual to avoid charges for unlawful possession of a handgun in New Jersey. You should also know that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you against prosecution for possessing a handgun in your home. Absent your falling within either of these exceptions, you face a second-degree crime and years in prison for having a handgun in your car, truck, or custody and control without a carry permit. This is one of the main reasons why hiring an experienced NJ gun defense attorney extremely f you were arrested for violating 2C:39-5b. The lawyers at our firm definitely have the qualifications that you need to achieve the very best outcome in your handgun case. We possess:

  • Over 200 years of experience defending handgun offenses throughout the state
  • 10 lawyers that limit their work exclusively to criminal defense
  • Former county prosecutors that include a Director of the Guns Task Force, Major Crimes Bureau, Special Operations and even an entire Trial Division
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys

Call us at 877-450-8301 to obtain a free consultation about your handgun charge. A lawyer is available around the clock to answer your questions, get going on preparation for a detention hearing, or to discuss any other subject on your gun case.

New Jersey Exemptions: When A Carry Permit Is Not Required

A carry permit is not required for a handgun when one of the exemptions contained in 2C:39-6 applies. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these exceptions never apply to weapons that are prohibited in NJ. This only makes sense since these items are illegal under any circumstance. You are entitled to the benefit of an exemption if you fall within one of the following classes of individuals:

  • Member of the Armed Forces. A member of the army, navy, marines, airforce or national guard may possess a handgun provided they are on duty or traveling between places of duty and carrying an authorized weapon in the manner prescribed by their command.
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officers. A member of the FBI, ATF, US Marshall’s Service, or another federal officer is exempt from having a carry permit if they are required to carry as part of their position.
  • State, County, Local, Transit, Campus and Railway Police 
  • Parole Police Officer
  • Members of the County Sheriff, Prosecutor & NJ Attorney General Office
  • Correction Officials. Corrections officers and jail wardens may carry while in the performance of his duties and when required to possess the handgun by their agency.
  • United States Government Employees. This exemption applies to civilian employees of the federal government required, in the performance of his official duties, to carry a firearm and authorized by their authority to do so during the period of their encounter with New Jersey law enforcement.
  • Licensed Gun Dealers. A licensed dealer in firearms and their registered employees are authorized to possess a handgun during the course of their normal business while traveling to and from their place of business and other places for the purpose of demonstration, exhibition or delivery in connection with a sale.
  • Retired Police Officers. A retired police officer is exempted from the requirement of having a carry permit provided they were granted approval by the Superintendent of State Police to carry a handgun. They may carry in the same manner as an active police officer once this approval is received.

Exemption for Possession of Antique Handgun

An individual may possess an antique handgun provided one of the following applies: (1) it is incapable of being fired or discharged; (2) it does not fire fixed ammunition; or (3) it was manufactured before 1898 and is possessed as a curiosity or ornament or for its historical significance or value. Please note that this exception only applies if the firearm is unloaded or is being fired for the limited purpose of exhibition or demonstration at a  target range.

Exemption for Handguns at a Place of Business or Residence

As previously stated, the Second Amendment allows you to bear arms at your home. This right also extends to your place of business and land owned by you. These locations must be fixed in order for the exemption to apply.

Exemption for Possession at a Hunting Facility, Gun Range or Firearm Repair Shop

You may possess a handgun at a bona fide location like a target/gun/shooting range, a facility to trade, or repair handguns or at a hunting facility.

Exemption for Authorized Transport of Handguns

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6g provides an exemption for the transport of a handgun between locations to which you enjoy constitutional protection or an exemption in accordance with NJ law, including your home, a shooting range, hunting location or business. For more information on this subject, as well as federal pre-emption for interstate travel with a handgun, please refer to our New Jersey rules for transporting firearms page.

Highly Qualified Handgun Possession Attorneys in New Jersey

The technical defenses to a charge for unlawful possession of a handgun are complicated. This also goes for the process and law for obtaining a waiver from the Graves Act. The attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, are fully capable of exploiting these and other avenues of relief with decades of experience defending NJ handgun charges. To speak to one of the lawyers at the firm immediately, call 877-450-8301. We are more than happy to provide a comprehensive consultation without charge.