The following information is intended to be for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.
Purchasing a Firearm in New Jersey & Obtaining a Firearm ID Card
In summary, the process starts with your local police department. By law you must complete a form STS-33 (the application), be fingerprinted, and fill out a Consent To Mental Health Records Check from. Two references must be provided. Some police departments require that the references are not related or living with you.
Once the forms are complete and your references return their questionnaires, you should be issued your Firearms Purcharser's ID card within 30 days. Many citizens report that it may take up to 6 months or longer to receive your FID card depending on the police department you filed with.
After you are issued your card, you may purchase a long gun (shotgun, rifle, black powder rifle, or BB gun). If you wish to purchase a hand gun (including a BB handgun), you must apply for a Permit to Purchase a Handgun. These permits are only good for 90 days, but may be extended an additional 90 days for a total of no more than 180 at the discretion of your local police chief. You may only purchase one hand gun per month (every 30 days). Each hand gun requires its own permit. The application for a Permit to Purchase a Handgun is the same as applying for your initial Firearms ID card except finger prints are not required.
When you go to the firearms retailer, you will need to fill out the ATF from and submit to an additional background check performed by NJ NICS, which is NJ's version of the National Instant Background Check system. As of April 1, 2013, NJ NICS may take up to 12 days to clear you to purchase a firearm in NJ. (Nationally, these checks are returned within 20 minutes but since NJ uses it's own system, delays may take place).
Should you wish to purchase ammunition, it will be necessary to show your drivers license to purchase shotgun or rifle rounds. To purchase handgun ammunition, you will need to show your firearms ID card, or a copy of your Permit to Purchase a Handgun.
Please see the information below taken from N.J.A.C Title 13 Chapter 54 on obtaining a Firearms ID Card in NJ.
HOW TO OBTAIN A NJ FIREARMS ID CARD
Applications for a firearms purchaser identification card and for a permit to purchase a handgun
(a) Every person applying for a firearms purchaser identification card or for a permit to purchase a handgun shall furnish such information and particulars as are set forth in the application form designated STS-33. Forms can be obtained from municipal police departments, State Police stations and licensed retail firearms dealers.
(b) The applicant shall waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement.
(c) The applicant shall provide the names and addresses of two reputable citizens personally acquainted with him as references.
(d) The application shall be signed by the applicant and the completed application, together with two sets of the applicant's fingerprints and fees as established by N.J.A.C. 13:59 in accordance with N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.5 et seq., a consent for mental health records search form designated SP 66 and a nonrefundable application fee of $ 5.00 for a firearms identification card and $ 2.00 for a permit to purchase a handgun, shall be submitted to the chief of police of an organized full-time police department in the municipality in which the applicant resides. If the municipality does not have an organized full-time police department, application shall be made to the State Police station servicing the municipality in which the applicant resides, or to any State Police station in the case of a non- resident.
(e) The chief of police of an organized full time police department of the municipality where the applicant resides, or the Superintendent, when the applicant is a non-resident of this State or when the municipality does not have a full time department, shall accept and investigate applications for firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase handguns.
(f) The fingerprints of any applicant shall be compared with any fingerprints maintained by the State Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Identification for the purpose of ascertaining the existence of any criminal record. The fingerprints shall be obtained and submitted for such comparison by the chief of police or the State Police, as the case may be.
(g) An applicant for a handgun purchase permit who possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, or who has previously obtained a handgun purchase permit from the same licensing authority for which he or she was previously fingerprinted, and who provides an additional valid identification document of his or her identity, need not be fingerprinted again. In such cases, the chief of police or Superintendent shall otherwise fully investigate the applicant in accordance with this subchapter. The chief of police or Superintendent shall require the applicant to complete the New Jersey State Police, State Bureau of Identification (SBI) "Request For Criminal History Record Information For Non Criminal Justice Purpose" form, and pay the appropriate fee established by N.J.A.C. 13:59. Applicants unable to provide an additional valid identification document shall submit to fingerprinting.
(h) Applicants for a permit to purchase a handgun may apply for more than one permit per application. The number of permits requested, and each permit number shall be entered in the spaces provided on the application.
(i) The chief of police or the Superintendent, as the case may be, shall either approve or disapprove the applications. Permits and cards shall be issued by the chief of police or the Superintendent to persons who are found to be qualified and who are not subject to any of the disabilities set forth by this subchapter.
Prerequisites for a permit to purchase handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card
(a) A permit to purchase a handgun, or a firearm purchaser identification card, shall not be issued to any person:
1. To any person who has been convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence as defined in section 3 of P.L. 1991, c. 261 (N.J.S.A. 2C:25- 19), whether or not armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of such offense;
2. To any drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L. 1970, c. 226 (N.J.S.A. 24:21- 2), to any person who is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, or to any person who is presently a habitual drunkard;
3. To any person who suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him or her to handle firearms, to any person who has ever been confined for a mental disorder, or to any alcoholic unless any of the foregoing persons produces a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof, that he or she is no longer suffering from that particular disability in such a manner that would interfere with or handicap him or her in the handling of firearms; to any person who knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card;
4. To any person under the age of 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card and to any person under the age of 21 years for a permit to purchase a handgun;
5. To any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare;
6. To any person who is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, P.L. 1991, c. 261 (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17et seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm;
7. To any person who as a juvenile was an adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device or is enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L. 1997, c. 117 (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2); or
8. To any person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, P.L. 1991, c. 261 (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq.) and whose firearm has not been returned.
Exception for physical disability, mental disorder or alcoholism
A permit or identification card may be issued to a person who had previously suffered from a physical defect or disease, or mental disorder, or was an alcoholic if the applicant provides a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof that he or she is no longer suffering from that particular disability in such a manner that it would interfere with or handicap him or her in the handling of firearms.
Written certification; delivery of permit to purchase
(a) Any person receiving, purchasing or otherwise acquiring a firearm by exhibiting a firearm purchaser identification card shall sign a written certification on form NJSP 634, which shall indicate that he or she presently complies with all of the requirements for obtaining an identification card and does not suffer from any of the disabilities set forth in this subchapter. The certification shall contain his or her name, address and firearms purchaser identification number or dealer's license, and any other information deemed necessary by the Superintendent. If the seller is not a licensed dealer, the certification may be retained by the seller or it may be filed with the chief of police of the municipality in which he or she resides or, in all other cases, with the Superintendent. The seller shall retain the certification if he or she is a licensed dealer.
(b) A permit to purchase a handgun shall be issued to the applicant in quadruplicate. Prior to receiving a handgun from the seller, the purchaser must deliver all copies of the permit to the seller, who shall complete all of the information on the required form. Within five days of the sale the seller shall forward the original copy to the Superintendent and the second copy to the chief of police of the municipality where the purchaser resides; provided that in a municipality having no chief of police, the second copy shall be forwarded to the Superintendent. The third copy shall be returned to the purchaser, and the fourth shall be kept by the seller as a permanent record.
Number of firearms that may be purchased
(a) Only one handgun may be purchased or delivered on each permit to purchase.
(b) There shall be no restriction on the number of rifles, shotguns and antique cannons that may be purchased or acquired, provided the receiver possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card and otherwise complies with all of the provisions of this subchapter.
Revocation of a firearms purchaser identification card
(a) A firearms purchaser identification card may be revoked by the Superior Court of the county wherein the card was issued, after a hearing, and upon a finding that the holder no longer qualifies for the issuance of such a card.
(b) The county prosecutor, any law enforcement officer or any citizen may request a hearing for revocation by applying to the Superior Court of the county in which the card was issued.
(c) Any person having knowledge that a person is subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this subchapter to obtain or possess a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card may notify the chief of police, the Superintendent or any other law enforcement officer who may take such action as may be deemed appropriate.
Duplicate firearms purchaser identification card
(a) Persons shall apply for a duplicate firearms purchaser identification card to replace a lost, stolen or mutilated card, or in the case of a change of residence by the holder, within 30 days of such loss, theft, mutilation, or change of residence.
(b) The applicant shall complete an application for a duplicate firearms purchaser identification card designated as form STS-3 and a consent for mental health records search designated as form SP 66 and present same to the chief of police in the municipality where the applicant resides or to the Superintendent in all other cases.
(c) It shall be the responsibility of the chief of police of the municipality wherein the applicant currently resides or the Superintendent in all other cases, to conduct a criminal history records check and to determine if the applicant is subject to any of the disabilities as provided by law and this subchapter and to issue the duplicate card, should the applicant qualify. The applicant shall pay the appropriate fee for a Criminal History Record Check as established by N.J.A.C. 13:59 in accordance with N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.5 et seq. (P.L. 1985, c.69).
(a) Any person denied a firearms purchaser identification card, a permit to purchase a handgun or a duplicate firearms purchaser identification card may request a hearing in the Superior Court of the county in which he or she resides or in the Superior Court of the county in which his or her application for a firearms purchaser identification card was denied if he or she is a nonresident. The request for a hearing shall be made in writing within 30 days of the denial of the application for a permit, identification card or duplicate identification card. The applicant shall serve a copy of his or her request for a hearing upon the chief of police of the municipality in which he or she resides, if he or she is a resident of New Jersey, and upon the Superintendent in all cases.
(b) Any person denied a firearm purchaser identification card, a permit to purchase a handgun or a duplicate firearms purchaser identification card shall be notified in writing by the issuing authority of the reasons for the denial.
(c) The request for a hearing shall be made in writing within 30 days of the denial, and such request shall also be served upon the chief of police or the Superintendent.
Firearms passing to heirs or legatees
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subchapter concerning the transfer, receipt or acquisition of a firearm, a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card shall not be required for the passing of a firearm upon the death of an owner thereof to their heir or legatee, whether the same be by testamentary bequest or by the laws of intestacy. A person so acquiring ownership may retain the firearm if he or she meets the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:54- 1.5 and 1.6.
(b) If an heir or legatee is not qualified to acquire a firearm, he or she may retain ownership of the firearm for the purpose of sale for a period of 180 days, which period may be extended by the chief of police or the Superintendent. During such period the firearm must be placed in the custody of the chief of police or Superintendent.
(c) In the case of assault firearms or machine guns disposition shall be in accordance with N.J.A.C. 13:54-5.
Limitation on fees
No fees, other than those established by this chapter or law, shall be assessed or charged to any person by any governmental entity of this State for the processing of applications, or for the proper investigation of applicants for licenses, permits, cards and registrations in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Confidentiality of background investigations, permits, firearms identification cards, licenses, certifications, certificates, forms of register, registration statements and applications
Any background investigation conducted by the chief of police, the Superintendent or the county prosecutor, of any applicant for a permit, firearms identification card license, or registration, in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized by law or this chapter to have access to such investigation, including the applicant. Any application for a permit, firearms identification card, or license, and any document reflecting the issuance or denial of such permit, firearms identification card, or license, and any permit, firearms identification card, license, certification, certificate, form of register, or registration statement, maintained by any State or municipal governmental agency, is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized by law or this chapter to have access to such documentation, including the applicant, except on the request of persons acting in their governmental capacities for purposes of the administration of justice.