See our Concealed Carry policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
New Jersey generally prohibits the knowing possession of a handgun in any place other than one’s own property or place of business without a permit to carry a handgun.1
New Jersey is a “may issue” state, meaning that the chief police officer of a locality (city or county in which the applicant resides) or the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) has discretion in determining whether or not to issue a concealed weapons permit to an applicant.
New Jersey requires any person seeking to carry a handgun to apply for a permit through the NJSP or local law enforcement.2 Among other requirements, the application must be endorsed by “three reputable persons” who have known the applicant for at least three years and who certify that the applicant is “of good moral character and behavior.”3 Moreover, no application shall be approved unless the applicant demonstrates that he or she:4
- Is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth under state law to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card;5
- Is thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns; and
- Has a justifiable need to carry a handgun.
Each application form shall also be accompanied by a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun, under oath, that specifies in detail the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.6 Where possible, the applicant shall corroborate the existence of any specific threats or previous attacks by reference to reports of such incidents to law enforcement.7
Following approval by the NJSP or local law enforcement, the applicant must present his or her application to the superior court in the county in which the applicant resides.8 The superior court must be equally satisfied the applicant meets the requirements to carry a handgun before it will issue a permit.9
Firearm Safety Training
New Jersey requires that applicants for a permit to carry a handgun demonstrate a “thorough familiarity” with the safe handling and use of handguns, as evidenced by:10
- Completion of a firearms training course substantially equivalent to the firearms training approved by the Police Training Commission;11
- Submission of the applicant’s most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings, administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified firearms instructor; or
- Passage of any test of New Jersey’s laws governing the use of force, administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified instructor.
Duration & Renewal
In New Jersey, permits to carry handguns expire two years from the date of issuance.12 Permits may be renewed for two-year periods in the same manner, and subject to the same conditions, as original applications.13
Disclosure or Use of Information
New Jersey does not allow personal application or permit information regarding concealed weapons permit holders to be made public. Any background investigation of an applicant for a permit to carry a handgun is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized to have access to such information.14 Any application materials, document reflecting the issuance or denial of a permit, or permit maintained by any state or municipal governmental agency is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized by law to have access to the documentation, except for persons acting in their governmental capacities for purposes of the administration of justice.15
Non-residents of New Jersey who wish to carry a handgun in the state must obtain a permit to carry a handgun from NJSP under the same process as New Jersey residents.16
- N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:39-5b, 2C:39-6e.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4b.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4c. Applicants must also submit fingerprints to facilitate the background check. Id.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c. See the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4; N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-2.4(d)(1).
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4d.
- N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-2.4(b).
- See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-6j.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4a.
- N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.15.
- Id. For information limiting access to and use of criminal history record information that is utilized for purposes other than criminal justice, see N.J. Admin. Code § 13:59-1.6.
- See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4.