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How to Go About Purchasing a Handgun in New Jersey

Be it for self-defense, entertainment, or assortment purposes, the right to own a handgun is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

However, the same amendment comes with several exceptions on who can own and operate a firearm. These exceptions vary from one state to another.

The state of NJ firearm law provides that individuals of 21 years of age must be mentally stable for them to qualify for a firearm license. Unlike other items, you do not just wake up one day, hop into an arms dealer, pay, and leave with a firearm.

This daunting process involves lots of legalities and deep vetting. Familiarizing yourself with the process is essential to remaining in the good books of the law and avoiding possible legal suits. 

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Familiarize Yourself with Local Laws 

The process starts with you familiarizing yourself with the NJ state laws governing the ownership and operation of a firearm. The NJ firearm law states that only individuals who are 21 years of age and above are allowed to own and operate a licensed firearm. It also provides that individuals seeking to qualify for a license for handgun ownership should not have a past criminal record. They must also grant consent to ascertain that they are of sound mind and that they are not a threat to themselves and the public. 

Obtain Firearm Purchaser Identification Card, FPIC. 

Having understood all the provisions of the NJ state handgun laws, you then apply for FPIC. The process entails you filling out the STS-33 form, which carries all your identification details such as the driver and social security numbers. By filling out and signing the form, you waive your right to confidentiality since your fingerprints and identification details will be compared with others in the police database. When filling out the form, you have to provide two to three references who can attest to the stability of your mental state. Please note these references will be given a call so it is advisable to keep them in the loop to avoid awkwardness. You will be then required to pay a processing fee addressed to the NJ police department. It is always wise to call the department before the appointment to confirm the fees since they are subject to change over time. The processing timeframe is 30 days after which you should be issued with your ID card. 

Apply For a Permit to Purchase a Firearm 

With a firearm ID card in hand, you then proceed to apply for a permit to own a firearm. The NJ state laws provide that you must acquire a license for each firearm you plan on owning. To acquire the permit, you fill out an application, which is available at all NJ state police branches and licensed firearms dealers. It is applied together with FPIC and provisions are more or less the same. The issuing officer may subject you to an interview to determine your familiarity and eligibility. The license is valid for 90 days, after which it may be extended for a further 90 days, depending on the issuing officer. At the expiry of the extension, you have to reapply for the license. You will be mandated to undergo a background assessment only that this time your fingerprints will not be taken afresh. 

Purchase from an Authorized Dealer 

Having fulfilled all the necessary NJ state firearm handling and ownership laws, you then proceed to purchase the handgun that you applied a license for. This is a very critical matter so you have to ensure to purchase only from authorized dealers. If you are not sure or do not know how to verify your license, consider consulting with the police branch where you obtained the ID and permit. The officers are the best source of such information since they have details of all the dealers they have granted licenses of operation in the entire NJ state. 

Although not necessarily mandatory under state firearms laws in the state of NJ, it is highly recommended to enroll in a handgun-training course. Handgun ownership and operation require us to behave with the utmost respect for firearms. Misuse of firearms could get you into trouble with the state laws where you could lose your permit, face legal suits or worse still end up in jail. Enrolling in a handgun-training course equips you with the necessary techniques and information for responsible firearm handling. This is best way to ensure that you will enjoy your firearm safely. 

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