Transporting Firearms in New Jersey
N.J.S. 2C:39-5 makes possession of firearms in New Jersey illegal unless the possessor has a firearms identification card. But, like many New Jersey laws, exceptions exist. N.J.S. 2C:39-6e allows possessors to keep or carry firearms in their place of business, residence, or other land owned by them. A Firearms Identification Card is not required to have a firearm in those places. We refer to those places on this page as FID-exempt locations.
From time to time you may wish to transport your firearm from one FID-exempt location to another. N.J.S. 2C:39-6e allows persons not having an FID to transport firearms directly between the following locations provided they are in compliance with the requirements of N.J.S. 2C:39-6(g). (We discuss N.J.S. 2C:39-6(g) below.)
- Place of purchase to their residence, or place of business;
- Between residence and place of business;
- Between one place of business or residence to another, when moving;
- Between residence or place of business to a place where the firearm is to be repaired (and back).
If you are a hunter or collector of firearms, even when you have no NJ FID card, N.J.S. 2C:39-6(f)(3) allows you to transport your firearms directly to and from:
- Place for the purpose of hunting or fishing if you have a proper (hunting or fishing) license;
- A target range or authorized place for practice, match, target, or skeet shooting exhibition; and
- Exhibition or displays of firearms which are sponsored by any law enforcement agency or firearms club for display purposes.
For the NJ FID card exemption to apply, N.J.S. 2C:39-6(g) requires that, when transporting firearms, you make no unnecessary stops between the above locations. You must go directly to and from, for the requirements set forth by N.J.S. 2C:39-6e and N.J.S. 2C:39-6(f)(3) to be satisfied. If you happen to stop at the dry cleaners or grocery store on your way to or from hunting, the NJ FID card exemptions may be unavailable. Also, the firearms are required to be transported in a particular manner. N.J.S. 2C:39-6(g) spells out how the firearms are to be transported:
- The firearms must be unloaded; and
- They must be inside a closed and fastened case or gun box; or
- They must be locked in the trunk of the automobile it is being transported in. (For the equipment pictured above, your vehicle will need a really large trunk.)
N.J.S. 2C:39-6(g) also states that travel described in N.J.S. 2C:39-6e and N.J.S. 2C:39-6(f)(3) must have only reasonably necessary deviations. If you deviate from your path, the statutes may not protect you.
Interstate Transportation of Firearms
There is a federal law that regulates the transportation of firearms between states. 18 U.S.C. § 926A states that a person who is not prohibited by law from transporting firearms can transport the firearms from one state to another for any lawful purpose under the following circumstances:
- The firearms are unloaded;
- Neither the firearms or ammunition is readily accessible; and
- The firearms and ammunition are locked in a container other than the glovebox or console. (For the equipment shown in the image above to be in compliance with this requirement, you will need a rather large container.)
Amazingly, a different federal statute allows passengers to bring firearms and ammunition onto an airline. That statute is 18 U.S.C. § 922(e). To be in compliance, the passenger must give the item to the airline pilot or captain for the duration of the trip. 18 U.S.C. § 922(e) specifies that when passengers comply with that procedure, they do not violate any provision of federal gun laws contained in Chapter 44 of Title 18 of the United State Code. Unlike 18 U.S.C. § 926A, however, 18 U.S.C. § 922(e) does not purport to supersede any relevant New Jersey (or other state) statutes.
18 U.S.C. § 922(e) is not limited to airline transportation. The statute also allows passengers on a ship, train, bus, or any common carrier operated in interstate commerce to similarly deliver the firearm to the pilot, captain, conductor, or operator. These conditions, when satisfied, supersede any New Jersey state statutes to the contrary.
Even when the above conditions are satisfied, Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ can give no guarantee that you will not be arrested and charged with violating one or more New Jersey or federal gun-related statutes. Quite the contrary, Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ advise that attempting to exercise the right that 18 U.S.C. § 922(e) confers will almost certainly result in arrest, with criminal charges. (You will also miss your flight.) What these federal statutes do mean is that you will have a legal defense against such charges, or at least to federal charges discussed on this page.
Allan Marain is a New Jersey lawyer who handles Second Amendment issues. He represents persons seeking firearms purchaser identification (FID) cards. He represents persons charged with violating laws relating to firearms and other weapons. Allan is licensed to practice in all New Jersey courts, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Supreme Court of the United States, and before the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. He would welcome the opportunity to assist you with overcoming Second Amendment difficulties.
Allan Marain |
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