Updates on Permits to Carry Firearms (Part 1)

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The laws regarding permits to carry firearms in New Jersey are constantly changing. Many of these laws remain unclear and unreasonable. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to locate a comprehensive and accurate list of regulations that permit holders must keep in mind while carrying. The following blogs were developed with reference to handgunlaw.us and relevant New Jersey statutes. The following analysis is likely to change as the federal and New Jersey caselaw continues to develop.

As of July 1, 2023, the holder of a permit to carry a handgun shall not: (1) consume alcohol, cannabis, or a controlled substance while carrying; (2) be under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or a controlled substance while carrying; (3) carry a handgun in public outside of a holster or carry a handgun in public in a holster that does not meet the requirements of subsection h. of N.J.S.2C:58-4; (4) carry more than two firearms at one time; or (5) engage in an unjustified display of a handgun.

“Holster” is defined by subsection h. as “a device or sheath that securely retains a handgun which, at a minimum, conceals and protects the main body of the firearm, maintains the firearm in a consistent and accessible position, and renders the trigger covered and inaccessible while the handgun is fully seated in the holster.”

The holder of a permit to carry a handgun, if stopped or detained by a law enforcement officer while carrying a handgun in public or traveling with a handgun in a motor vehicle, shall: (1) immediately disclose to the law enforcement officer that they are carrying a handgun or that a handgun is stored in the vehicle; and (2) display the permit to carry a handgun.

Except as otherwise provided in this section and in the case of a brief, incidental entry onto property, which shall be deemed a de minimis infraction within the contemplation of N.J.S.2C:2-11, it shall be a crime of the third degree for any person, other than a person lawfully carrying a firearm within the authorized scope of an exemption set forth in N.J.S.2C:39-6, to knowingly carry a firearm as defined in subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 and a crime of the second degree to knowingly possess a destructive device as defined in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 in any of the following places, including in or upon any part of the buildings, grounds, or parking area of: (1) a place owned, leased, or under the control of State, county or municipal government used for the purpose of government administration, including but not limited to police stations;

The 2C:39-6 exemptions are mostly limited to military, law enforcement, and licensed private security. The first prohibited place listed creates confusion. There are likely many places that are “under the control of government.” Your average person cannot reasonably be expected to be aware of all of them, absent clear indications posted on the exterior of all entrances.