Pellet, BB Guns, and Airsoft Guns in New Jersey

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New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Long gone are the days when Ralphie can get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and go shoot in the backyard. A pellet and/or BB gun is considered a firearm in New Jersey and all of the firearm laws apply to them. This means that the purchase of a pellet gun or bb gun in New Jersey requires a Firearm Identification Card. It also means that there are strict laws regulating the transport of them in a vehicle; the same laws that apply to the transport of any firearm.

Most towns throughout Morris County New Jersey, have enacted municipal ordinances which prohibit or significantly limit the discharge of firearms on any property within the town. Because a pellet gun is a firearm in New Jersey, you could face serious consequences for shooting a pellet gun in your backyard.

In many surrounding states one can readily purchase a pellet gun or BB gun at their local sporting goods store, over the counter. A common misconception is that because it was purchased in another state, it can be brought to New Jersey and used with no problems.

We have represented many clients that purchased a pellet gun in a surrounding state and were pulled over with it in their vehicle or caught using it unlawfully in New Jersey, only to learn that they were facing serious legal ramifications.

BB Gun Pistols: Pellet or BB gun pistols are considered firearms in New Jersey. Therefore in order to purchase one, not only must an individual have a Firearms Identification Card, but they must also have Pistol Purchaser Permit. Additionally, in order to actually carry the pellet or bb gun pistol on their person, one must have a carry permit under N.J.S. 2C:58-4.

Pellet or bb rifles or long guns: Even though a pellet gun rifle does not have a rifled bore and arguably does not fall under the definition of “rifle” in New Jersey, it is still considered a firearm and a Firearm Identification Card is still required to purchase, and possess one in New Jersey.

BB gun or Pellet gun with built in silencer: Many of the pellet guns sold today have a built in noise suppressor that cannot be removed. Guess what? Those are illegal in New Jersey too; That means that new Gamo Whisper you bought is illegal to possess in New Jersey.

The following excerpt appears on the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife website:

“The following is the official Division of Fish and Wildlife statement regarding the use and possession of air guns equipped or manufactured with silencers:
As per a recent interpretation by the State Attorney General’s Office, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Bureau of Law Enforcement is advising sportsman and sportswomen that the possession and use of air guns equipped with silencers is illegal pursuant to New Jersey Criminal Law. Silencers are defined as any device designed to lessen or muffle the noise of the gun discharging. We urge all users of air guns to determine through the manufacturer of the firearm whether or not they are so equipped. The possession and use of such air guns is ILLEGAL.”

Because a pellet gun is considered a firearm in New Jersey, and it is unlawful to have a firearm silencer in New Jersey, possessing a pellet gun with a built in sound suppressor constitutes a fourth degree criminal offense of unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon or device pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:39-3.

Airsoft guns/ Paintball guns:  There are a lot of varying opinions as to what the laws are for Airsoft Guns in New Jersey and whether or not they are considered a “firearm” in New Jersey. The fact is that a firearm ID card is not required to purchase an Airsoft gun in New Jersey. However, one must be 18 years old and produce a valid driver’s license to purchase one. This is because unlike bb guns and pellet guns, Airsoft guns are designed to shoot plastic bbs, rather than metal ones. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be legal implications for using one of these improperly.

Similarly, Paintball guns, which are not considered firearms under N.J.S.A.2C:39-1 f, do not shoot metal projectiles however both Airsoft guns and Paintball guns can cause injury to someone. Therefore they may be considered a “weapon” under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1. Someone improperly using an Airsoft gun or Paintball gun in Morris County can be charged with possession of a “weapon” for an unlawful purpose, which is a fourth degree crime.

If you are charged with a bb gun, pellet gun, Airsoft gun or Paintball gun offense in Madison, Mendham, Chester, Chatham, Florham Park, Morristown, Harding, Washington Township, Morris Township, Morris Plains, Hanover Township, East Hanover or in the surrounding Morris County New Jersey towns, please contact our office at (973)-377-7800 to see how we can help you.

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