Child Access Prevention
New Jersey provides that “[a] person who knows or reasonably should know that a minor [under 16 years of age]1 is likely to gain access to a loaded firearm at a premises under the person’s control” is criminally liable for a misdemeanor if a minor gains access to a firearm, unless the person:
- Stores the firearm in a securely locked box or container;
- Stores the firearm in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or
- Secures the firearm with a trigger lock.2
This section does not apply to activities concerning the lawful use of a firearm by a minor (see the section entitled Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in New Jersey), or where a minor obtained a firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.3
New Jersey requires firearm dealers to give all firearm transferees the following written warning, printed in block letters not less than one-fourth of an inch in height: “IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, PUNISHABLE BY A FINE AND IMPRISONMENT, FOR AN ADULT TO LEAVE A LOADED FIREARM WITHIN EASY ACCESS OF A MINOR.”4 Dealers also must post a truncated version of this warning “conspicuously” at each purchase counter, printed in block letters not less than one inch in height.5
New Jersey imposes harsh penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison term of three years without parole, on any person who knowingly sells, gives, transfers, assigns or otherwise disposes of a firearm to a person under age 18.6
New Jersey has no law that requires unattended firearms to be stored in a certain way.
In New Jersey, retail firearms dealers must include a trigger lock or a locked case, gun box, container or other secure facility with every handgun sold, unless the handgun is on the state list of approved personalized handguns.7 For further information about personalized handguns, see the section entitled Personalized & Owner-Authorized Firearms in New Jersey.
New Jersey has established the “KeepSafe” program, which provides that any person who purchases a firearm from a retail dealer is eligible for a five dollar instant rebate on the purchase of a trigger locking device compatible with the firearm purchased.8 In addition, the New Jersey State Police shall provide licensed retail firearms dealers with a sign “to be prominently displayed at a conspicuous place on the dealer’s business premises” which will state “substantially” the following:
“KEEP NEW JERSEY FIREARMS SAFE. TO ENCOURAGE NEW JERSEY GUN OWNERS TO STORE THEIR FIREARMS SAFELY, THE STATE IS OFFERING A $5 INSTANT REBATE WHEN YOU PURCHASE A COMPATIBLE TRIGGER LOCK ALONG WITH YOUR FIREARM. REMEMBER–THE USE OF A TRIGGER LOCK IS ONLY ONE ASPECT OF RESPONSIBLE FIREARM STORAGE. FIREARMS SHOULD BE STORED, UNLOADED AND LOCKED IN A LOCATION THAT IS BOTH SEPARATE FROM THEIR AMMUNITION AND INACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN. NEW JERSEY’S FAMILIES AND CHILDREN ARE PRECIOUS–KEEP THEM SAFE!!”9
New Jersey does not require firearm owners to lock their weapons.
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