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New Jersey prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a machine gun, or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without a state license.1

The state also prohibits any person from manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, transporting, shipping, selling or disposing of any machine gun without being registered or licensed under state law.2

Any person seeking to purchase, possess or carry a machine gun in New Jersey may apply for a license to do so by filing a written application with his or her county’s superior court, setting forth in detail the reasons for desiring such a license.3 “No license shall be issued to any person who would not qualify for a permit to carry a handgun…and no license shall be issued unless the court finds that the public safety and welfare so require.”4

Finally, any person who offers to sell a machine gun by means of an advertisement published in a newspaper circulating within New Jersey, where the advertisement does not specify that the purchaser is required to possess a valid New Jersey license to purchase and possess a machine gun or a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card to purchase and possess an automatic rifle, is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.5

In 2018, New Jersey enacted a law prohibiting the possession, sale, and manufacture of bump stocks and trigger cranks, accessories that allow a semi-automatic long gun to function similarly to a machine gun.6

Federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and generally prohibits the transfer or possession of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.7

 See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. 

  1. N.J. Stat Ann. § 2C:39-5a.[]
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-9a.[]
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5a.[]
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5b. Licenses expire one year from the date of issuance, and may be renewed under the same conditions as the original applications for two years. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5d. The superior court shall provide such conditions and limitations to the machine gun license as it deems to be in the public interest. Id. For more information on machine gun licenses, see N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5. See N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-5.1 – 13:54-5.4, 13:54-5.6 for further information on machine guns.[]
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-15.[]
  6. N.J.S.2C:39-1(i), (w)(6), (ee), and (ff); 2C:39-3(l); and 2C:39-9(j).[]
  7. 18 U.S.C. § 922(o); 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d).[]