Possession of an Illegal Rifle or Shotgun

The Former New Jersey Prosecutors & Skilled Defense Lawyers At Our Firm Are Ready To Defend Your Charge For Unlawful Possession of a Rifle or Shotgun

Unlawful or illegal possession of a long gun such as a rifle or shotgun require representation of a skilled local attorney so that the best defense is achieved.Many individuals possess a shotgun or other firearm but lack full knowledge of the license and permit requirements imposed by New Jersey law. This can be a potentially devastating oversight in view of the fact that this state imposes significant penalties for unlawful possession of a long gun such as a rifle, shotgun or similar firearm in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5c. In fact, an individual is exposed to a real possibility of incarceration if charged with they are arrested and convicted for having shotgun or rifle that is illegal because of a lack of a valid purchasers ID card or other required permit or license. If you or a loved one has been accused of illegally possessing a shotgun, you definitely need to consult a NJ criminal defense attorney that is experienced in defending firearm charges.

The team of lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall have the qualifications needed to successfully defend your charge. Our staff has credentials that are truly rare, including:

  • Over 200 years of experience representing clients charged with illegal or unlawful possession of a firearm such as a shotgun, rifle, assault weapon or other long gun
  • Former County & State Prosecutors that that have served as Director of Major Crimes, the Guns Task Force and the entire Trial Division
  • Certified criminal trial attorneys (less than 2% hold this designation from the New Jersey Supreme Court)
  • A team of 10 criminal lawyers that specialize in defense of criminal and other charges like unlawful possession
  • Decades of success stories defending NJ criminal offenses like illegal possession of a shotgun/rifle

A member of our staff, including our two NRA members and our former Gun Task Force Director, are available to assist you 24/7. You can call 1-877-450-8301 to speak to an attorney immediately. We will be more than happy to address your questions, advise you of your options, assist you in preparation for a first appearance or a detention hearing or to plan a defense. The article that follows should provide you with an excellent working knowledge of unlawful possession of a long gun charges. You can consult our NJ unlawful possession of a handgun page if the violation you are facing involves a short barreled firearm.

Unlawful Possession of a Shotgun or Rifle in New Jersey

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5c, an individual who is in knowing possession of a rifle or shotgun without a license is guilty of this criminal offense. The elements which must be established by the prosecution to convict someone of unlawful possession of this form of firearm including:

  1. The seizure of a Shotgun (or Rifle);
  2. That was knowingly possessed by the defendant; and
  3. The defendant lacked a valid firearms purchaser identification (ID) card

Each of the aforesaid elements must be established beyond reasonable doubt by the state to obtain a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5c.

  • Definition of Rifle & Shotgun. The definition of “rifle” for purposes of this law and for “shotgun” are essentially the same, namely, a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and which projects some form of bullet, slug or pellets.
  • What Constitutes Possession Under 2C:39-5c? Possession is “knowing” where the defendant is aware of its existence or a high probability that it exists. “Possession” may established through actual or construction possession. As with other firearms, it is possible for more than one individual to possess the same shotgun or even rifle at the same time.
  • Holder of a Firearms Purchasers ID Card. The form of license required under this law is referred to as a firearms purchaser identification card and is the same document that allows an individual to purchase a shotgun or acquire a rifle. The single permit provision for buying or purchasing a long gun is different from the licensing requirements for possession of a handgun in New Jersey which requires two separate permits – one to purchase and one to carry. The law also presumes that an individual’s possession of a firearm is illegal and without a permit such that the burden is on the suspect to established that is a holder of a firearms purchaser ID card.

Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Rifle, Shotgun or Other Form of Long Gun In New Jersey

An individual should be represented by the best gun defense lawyer they can find if they do not have a firearm purchasers ID card for a shotgun or rifle in their possession. A conviction for possessing a rife without a firearms ID card is a third degree crime. The same holds true for possession of a shotgun. A conviction for a third degree offense under 2C:39-5c carries a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, up to $15,000 in fines, and other assessments. A mandatory minimum prison term (i.e. a period of incarceration that would have to be served without parole) under the Graves Act is not automatically triggered upon conviction for unlawful possession of a long gun unlike the situation with handguns. An individual is only subjected to a mandatory term of imprisonment if there is a companion charge of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and certain persons not to possess a weapon.

New Jersey Illegal Rifle/Shotgun Defense Lawyers

To learn more about these charges or how our attorneys can defend you, please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our lawyers will review the facts of your case and discuss your options, including potential defenses. If you choose to thereafter retain our law firm, you can be confident that over two hundred (200) years of experience is behind you to insure that you escape your charge with minimal impact on your life. Call us at 877-450-8301 now for the skilled legal guidance needed to maintain your liberty.