New Jersey legislation makes it more challenging for those with felony convictions to lawfully purchase firearms. Some of these felonies include violent crimes and drug possession. Many people who complete their court-ordered sentences ask our attorneys, “What criminal charges disqualify me from owning a gun?”
Keep reading as one of our trusted criminal defense lawyers from Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., in Watchung, NJ, answers this question and more. Consider the following information before attempting to purchase a firearm.
Federal Law and State Law
The Brady Act of 1994 established a national baseline for a citizen’s eligibility to own and operate firearms. Since then, several pieces of federal legislation have expanded on these standards to block the sale, transportation, and gun permits of many individuals who have criminal histories. Still, over 98.5% of people pass firearm background inquiries.
To close some of the gaps left by federal law, New Jersey’s N.J.S. § 2C:39-7 clearly defines who cannot legally purchase firearms in the state. Other statutes, such as N.J.S. § 2C:58-3, also prohibit the issuance of firearm permits and IDs to those with misdemeanor convictions (disorderly persons offenses).
Who Cannot Own a Firearm in NJ?
What criminal charges disqualify you from owning a gun? According to New Jersey law, you cannot possess, sell, or transport a firearm if you are guilty of any of the following offenses:
- Sexual assault
- Gang crimes
- Unlawful firearm possession
- Misdemeanor domestic violence
- And other violent crimes
New Jersey also prohibits those convicted of unlawful use, possession, or trafficking of controlled substances. However, this rule does not apply to drug convictions categorized as a disorderly persons offense.
Anyone attempting to purchase a firearm in New Jersey must own a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card from authorized authorities (typically a local police department).
Exceptions to the Rules
It is rare for someone convicted of any of the crimes above to preserve their gun ownership rights. Still, you might be able to restore their rights if a court expunges your criminal record. Although expungement does not guarantee gun rights for all, it may be a practical path forward for some.
Adults with minor convictions may be eligible for expungement after five years. Generally, they must complete their sentences, satisfy certain court conditions, and have no more than four misdemeanor crimes on record. Hiring an attorney is a practical way to navigate this process.
Consequences for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Those found guilty of illegally owning firearms or ammunition can face severe penalties. In some cases, the court may confiscate illicit materials and implement hefty fines. However, many people face second-degree and third-degree felonies, which carry prison sentences.
A person arrested for owning firearms illegally more than once could qualify for a first-degree offense.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Hiring a lawyer can help you navigate the firearm ownership process and explain what crimes disqualify you from owning a gun. We can also represent you if you face charges related to the unlawful purchase or sale of guns.
Knowing your rights is essential. A reliable attorney will help you determine which legal strategies are available according to the circumstances of your case.
We can also speak on your behalf to law enforcement, courts, or other relevant parties should you have inquiries about your status.
Remember, a lawyer is your first line of defense when you need legal assistance. Avoid representing yourself in a court of law. Our knowledgeable attorneys have the experience and resources necessary to develop a personalized legal plan for you.
Partner With a Lawyer Today
You may feel helpless if the police arrest you or a loved one for unlawful firearm ownership. However, our legal counselors are just a phone call away. Hire one of our attorneys from Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., so you can speak with someone you can trust.
We take pride in serving our New Jersey community with professionalism and dignity.
Our client-first approach ensures that you have answers to all your questions when facing minor or severe criminal offenses. We take the time to understand every detail of the case so that we can recommend practical solutions. As an ethical firm, we also provide a safe and confidential environment where you can discuss your concerns.
What criminal charges can disqualify you from owning a gun? Learn more from our lawyers at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., in Watchung, NJ. Look no further for a reputable law firm in New Jersey. Call us at (908) 561-5577 for a free attorney consultation.