See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants
New Jersey prohibits the purchase, ownership, possession or control of a firearm by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses.1 The state also authorizes courts to prohibit defendants from purchasing or possessing firearms in cases where the defendant is charged with (but not yet convicted of) a domestic violence crime or offense.2
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
New Jersey allows victims of domestic violence to seek a restraining order against: 1) a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member; 2) a former or current dating partner or anyone with whom the victim has had a romantic relationship; or 3) any person with whom the victim has a child in common or anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant.3
New Jersey prohibits an individual from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a firearm, a permit to purchase a handgun, or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) if he or she is subject to a domestic violence restraining order.4
New Jersey also allows a judge to prohibit the purchase or possession of a firearm by persons subject to ex parte domestic violence protective orders (i.e., orders issued without informing in advance the party to whom the protective order is directed).5
Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident
In New Jersey, law enforcement must seize and remove firearms observed at the scene of a domestic violence incident if the law enforcement officer reasonably believes domestic violence has occurred and the weapon would expose the victim to a risk of serious bodily injury.6 An officer must also seize any FPIC or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the person accused of the domestic violence.7
A prosecutor has 45 days from the seizure in which to petition a court to take title of a seized firearm.8 If the prosecutor does not institute an action regarding the firearm within 45 days of seizure, the seized firearm shall be returned to the owner.9 Following a hearing concerning the owner of the seized firearm(s) that finds the weapons should not be returned because the defendant is guilty of the charges, the domestic violence situation persists, or the owner is found to be in a prohibited category under state law,10 the court may order the revocation of the owners FPIC or any permit, license or other authorization to own or possess a firearm, and order the owner to surrender any firearm seized and all other firearms possessed to the prosecutor and order the prosecutor to dispose of the firearms if the owner does not arrange for the sale of the firearm to a registered gun dealer within 60 days of the order.11
Removal or Surrender of Firearms Pursuant to Domestic Violence Convictions or Certain Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
New Jersey requires defendants convicted of a domestic violence crimes to immediately surrender their firearms, firearms purchaser identification cards, and permits to purchase handguns to law enforcement.12 Individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders, or temporary orders in which the judge has prohibited the respondent from possessing firearms, must also surrender their firearms.13 For more information about this process, see Disarming Prohibited Persons in New Jersey.
For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the New Jersey Background Checks and New Jersey Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7b(1), (2). State law prohibits the issuance of a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card to any person convicted of “any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving…domestic violence.” N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(1).
- N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19a; 2C:25-26a.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19d.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29(b); 2C:58-3c(6).
- N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28f, j; 2C:25-29b.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(1).
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(2), (3).
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(3).
- See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3, and the New Jersey Prohibited Purchasers Generally section.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21d(3)(b).
- N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-27.
- N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28(j); 2C:25-29(b).