Overview:This page starts with a sad truth: With the exception of organized police and specified governmental personnel, virtually no one in New Jersey, regardless of age, fully enjoys the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Such rights as New Jersey does choose to honor are doled out gradually, as a person achieves particular age milestones.
Age Sixteen:Age sixteen has legal significance but, paradoxically, that significance is for adults. Adults are obliged to prevent minors from gaining access to loaded firearms. “Minor,” for purposes of this obligations, is defined to mean persons under the age of sixteen.
Age Eighteen:Eighteen-year-olds obtain the right to possess and use firearms, so long as the firearms are not handguns. At age eighteen, a person reaches the age at which he or she may apply for a Firearms Purchaser Identification (FPID) card.
Age Twenty-one:Age twenty-one brings to persons in New Jersey as much Second Amendment rights as New Jersey will ever allow age to bring. Gained at age twenty-one is the right to purchase or otherwise obtain a handgun. Twenty-one also bestows upon persons in New Jersey the right to fire or use handguns. At age twenty-one, persons becomes legally entitled to seek and obtain a permit to purchase a handgun.
Exceptions:Exceptions exist to virtually all of the limitations listed above. The twenty-one years requirement does not apply to persons authorized to possess the handgun in connection with specified official duties. There actually are numerous categories of persons who become authorized under these exceptions. One category relates to a person's employment or position. Persons in that category include:
- Members of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the National Guard;
- Federal law enforcement officers, and other specified federal officers and employees;
- Members of New Jersey State Police and, sometimes, Marine Law Enforcement personnel;
- Sheriff's officers;
- County prosecutors, assistant prosecutors, and prosecutors' investigators;
- Officers of local police departments;
- Airport secutity officers;
- Various corrections officials;
- Officers associated with transit police, and campus police;
- Parole officers and probation officers.
The age limitations for firearms (not just handguns) specified above are also inapplicable when the young person is accompanied by a parent or guardian, or some other person legally qualified to exercise the pertinent privileges. Exceptions also exist for military drills, competitions or target pracctice upon approved ranges, and for hunting.
This list is extremely generalized. Virtually all of the exceptions indicated above carry additional qualifications and requirements. Young persons who contemplate engaging in firearms-related activities to which age restrictions apply are cautioned to meticulously verify they they meet all legal requirements. Places to obtain this verification may include the agencies and organizations involved, or a New Jersey gun lawyer.
Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™:This page has, in several places, discussed the age at which young persons obtain various rights. Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ use the term “rights” here, in the context of the age at which New Jersey law will allow the activity in question. Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ readily acknowledge that age requirements in connection with firearms are appropriate. At the same time, Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ believe that true gun rights arise from the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Friend and noted Virginia lawyer David Baugh says it best: “In criminal law there is only one true law, the constitution of the United States. All statutes and codes are merely the ravings of politicians.” Limitations that New Jersey places upon Second Amendment rights are examples of those ravings. They are illegitimate. They should be challenged.
Allan Marain |
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