With New Jersey having some of the strictest firearm laws and harshest penalties in the country, it’s important to understand the proper way to transport your firearms to ensure everyone remains safe and out of trouble. Although you may be carrying legally and staying out of trouble, even the smallest mistakes could land you some legal burdens no one wants to deal with. Make sure you’re aware of how to legally drive with your firearm.
First and foremost, make sure that you’re possessing your firearm within the limits of the law. This means having the proper permits and identification in order to do so. With New Jersey being so strict on guns, make sure you’re fully aware of your legal rights when it comes to carrying. Furthermore, make sure you completely understand what is allowed when it comes to transporting a firearm. For those without a carry permit, individuals can only transport a firearm under certain conditions. This includes:
- A licensed firearm dealer transporting a firearm during the course of their business;
- An individual transporting a firearm between their dwelling and business, between their dwellings or between their dwelling or business and a firearm repair shop; or
- Transport to or from a shooting range, hunting site or sponsored firearm exhibition.
Legally Transporting Your Firearm
Even if you are within your legal rights to be transporting a firearm, you still need to make sure you’re doing it properly. That means proper storage and concealment of the weapon, which ensures the safety of yourself and everyone around you. The firearm must be properly stowed away and secured in the vehicle during transport. This means that the firearm must be “unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gun box, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported.” Secondly, the firearm should not be accessible from the passenger compartment. If there is no other place to store it, it must be locked away in a proper concealed compartment or safe.
Additionally, when transporting a firearm, there are only a few specific circumstances, deemed reasonable, where you’re allowed to deviate from the intended course. This includes getting gas or fuel, stopping for food or drinks, seeking medical attention, using the restroom or dealing with an emergency situation. In other circumstances, there is a chance you could be charged with unlawful possession.
Lastly, it is important to understand the laws at the federal level. Federal law allows for transport of a firearm through any state, including New Jersey, under certain limited circumstances set forth in 18 U.S.C. 926A. This preempts any state law as long as the following applies:
- Possession of the firearm was legal in the state of origin;
- Possession will be lawful in the destination of the accused;
- Possession is with a lawful purpose;
- The handgun, shotgun, rifle or other firearm is unloaded;
- The firearm and ammunition are not directly accessible from the passenger compartment;
- The possessor is not a convicted felon, fugitive from justice or someone who has been dishonorable discharged;
- The possessor is not an illegal alien or someone who renounced citizen to the United States; and
- The possessor has not been adjudicated or committed because of a mental disability or defect.
Having the Right Representation
There are a lot of things you need to worry about when it comes to legally transporting your firearm. Even if you think you’re doing all the right things, a simple mistake can land you in a heap of trouble. We at Catanzaro Law understand the importance of doing everything the right way. We also recognize that nobody’s perfect, and sometimes you might make a mistake. If this is you, make sure you have an experienced, knowledgeable attorney on your side who is prepared to fight for your justice. Contact us today for a free consultation, and make sure you’re properly represented.