P.L. 1997, CHAPTER 67, approved April 8, 1997
Assembly Committee Substitute (Third Reprint) for
Assembly, Nos. 1762, 1834 and 949
An Act concerning firearms, amending N.J.S.2C:39-6 and supplementing chapter 39 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S.2C:39-6 is amended to read as follows:
2C:39-6. a. Provided a person complies with the requirements of subsection j. of this section, N.J.S.2C:39-5 does not apply to:
(1) Members of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the National Guard while actually on duty, or while traveling between places of duty and carrying authorized weapons in the manner prescribed by the appropriate military authorities;
(2) Federal law enforcement officers, and any other federal officers and employees required to carry firearms in the performance of their official duties;
(3) Members of the State Police and, under conditions prescribed by the superintendent, members of the Marine Law Enforcement Bureau of the Division of State Police;
(4) A sheriff, undersheriff, sheriff's officer, county prosecutor,
assistant prosecutor, prosecutor's detective or investigator, deputy attorney general or State investigator employed by the Division of Criminal Justice of the Department of Law and Public Safety, investigator employed by the State Commission of Investigation, inspector of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Bureau of the Division of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety authorized to carry such weapons by the Superintendent of State Police, State park ranger, or State conservation officer;
(5) A prison or jail warden of any penal institution in this State or his deputies, or an employee of the Department of Corrections engaged in the interstate transportation of convicted offenders, while in the performance of his duties, and when required to possess the weapon by his superior officer, or a correction officer or keeper of a penal institution in this State at all times while in the State of New Jersey, provided he annually passes an examination approved by the superintendent testing his proficiency in the handling of firearms;
(6) A civilian employee of the United States Government under the supervision of the commanding officer of any post, camp, station, base or other military or naval installation located in this State who is required, in the performance of his official duties, to carry firearms, and who is authorized to carry such firearms by said commanding officer, while in the actual performance of his official duties;
(7) (a) A regularly employed member, including a detective, of the police department of any county or municipality, or of any State, interstate, municipal or county park police force or boulevard police force, at all times while in the State of New Jersey;
(b) A special law enforcement officer authorized to carry a weapon as provided in subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.1985, c.439 (C.40A:14-146.14);
(c) An airport security officer or a special law enforcement officer appointed by the governing body of any county or municipality, except as provided in subsection b. of this section, or by the commission, board or other body having control of a county park or airport or boulevard police force, while engaged in the actual performance of his official duties and when specifically authorized by the governing body to carry weapons;
(8) A full-time, paid member of a paid or part-paid fire department or force of any municipality who is assigned full-time or part-time to an arson investigation unit created pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1981, c.409 (C.40A:14-7.1) or to the county arson investigation unit in the county prosecutor's office, while either engaged in the actual performance of arson investigation duties or while actually on call to perform arson investigation duties and when specifically authorized by the governing body or the county prosecutor, as the case may be, to carry weapons. Prior to being permitted to carry a firearm, such a member shall take and successfully complete a firearms training course administered by the Police Training Commission pursuant to P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-66 et seq.), and shall annually qualify in the use of a revolver or similar weapon prior to being permitted to carry a firearm;
(9) A juvenile corrections officer in the employment of the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c.284 (C.52:17B-170) subject to the regulations promulgated by the commission.
b. Subsections a., b. and c. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 do not apply to:
(1) A law enforcement officer employed by a governmental agency outside of the State of New Jersey while actually engaged in his official duties, provided, however, that he has first notified the superintendent or the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality or the prosecutor of the county in which he is engaged; or
(2) A licensed dealer in firearms and his registered employees during the course of their normal business while traveling to and from their place of business and other places for the purpose of demonstration, exhibition or delivery in connection with a sale, provided, however, that the weapon is carried in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section.
c. Provided a person complies with the requirements of subsection j. of this section, subsections b. and c. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 do not apply to:
(1) A special agent of the Division of Taxation who has passed an examination in an approved police training program testing proficiency in the handling of any firearm which he may be required to carry, while in the actual performance of his official duties and while going to or from his place of duty, or any other police officer, while in the actual performance of his official duties;
(2) A State deputy conservation officer or a full-time employee of the Division of Parks and Forestry having the power of arrest and authorized to carry weapons, while in the actual performance of his official duties;
(3) (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1986, c.150.)
(4) A court attendant serving as such under appointment by the sheriff of the county or by the judge of any municipal court or other court of this State, while in the actual performance of his official duties;
(5) A guard in the employ of any railway express company, banking or building and loan or savings and loan institution of this State, while in the actual performance of his official duties;
(6) A member of a legally recognized military organization while actually under orders or while going to or from the prescribed place of meeting and carrying the weapons prescribed for drill, exercise or parade;
(7) An officer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, while in the actual performance of his duties;
(8) An employee of a public utilities corporation actually engaged in the transportation of explosives;
(9) A railway policeman, except a transit police officer of the New Jersey Transit Police Department, at all times while in the State of New Jersey, provided that he has passed an approved police academy training program consisting of at least 280 hours. The training program shall include, but need not be limited to, the handling of firearms, community relations, and juvenile relations;
(10) A campus police officer appointed under P.L.1970, c.211 (C.18A:6-4.2 et seq.) at all times. Prior to being permitted to carry a firearm, a campus police officer shall take and successfully complete a firearms training course administered by the Police Training Commission, pursuant to P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-66 et seq.), and shall annually qualify in the use of a revolver or similar weapon prior to being permitted to carry a firearm;
(11) A person who has not been convicted of a crime under the laws of this State or under the laws of another state or the United States, and who is employed as a full-time security guard for a nuclear power plant under the license of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, while in the actual performance of his official duties;
(12) A transit police officer of the New Jersey Transit Police Department, at all times while in the State of New Jersey, provided the officer has satisfied the training requirements of the Police Training Commission, pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of P.L.1989, c.291 (C.27:25-15.1);
(13) A parole officer employed by the Bureau of Parole in the Department of Corrections at all times. Prior to being permitted to carry a firearm, a parole officer shall take and successfully complete a basic course for regular police officer training administered by the Police Training Commission, pursuant to P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-66 et seq.), and shall annually qualify in the use of a revolver or similar weapon prior to being permitted to carry a firearm;
(14) A Human Services police officer at all times while in the State of New Jersey, as authorized by the Commissioner of Human Services; or
(15) A person or employee of any person who, pursuant to and as required by a contract with a governmental entity, supervises or transports persons charged with or convicted of an offense.
d. (1) Subsections c. and d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 do not apply to antique firearms, provided that such antique firearms are unloaded or are being fired for the purposes of exhibition or demonstration at an authorized target range or in such other manner as has been approved in writing by the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the exhibition or demonstration is held, or if not held on property under the control of a particular municipality, the superintendent.
(2) Subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-3 and subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 do not apply to an antique cannon that is capable of being fired but that is unloaded and immobile, provided that the antique cannon is possessed by (a) a scholastic institution, a museum, a municipality, a county or the State, or (b) a person who obtained a firearms purchaser identification card as specified in N.J.S.2C:58-3.
(3) Subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-3 and subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 do not apply to an unloaded antique cannon that is being transported by one eligible to possess it, in compliance with regulations the superintendent may promulgate, between its permanent location and place of purchase or repair.
(4) Subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-3 and subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 do not apply to antique cannons that are being loaded or fired by one eligible to possess an antique cannon, for purposes of exhibition or demonstration at an authorized target range or in the manner as has been approved in writing by the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the exhibition or demonstration is held, or if not held on property under the control of a particular municipality, the superintendent, provided that performer has given at least 30 days' notice to the superintendent.
(5) Subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-3 and subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 do not apply to the transportation of unloaded antique cannons directly to or from exhibitions or demonstrations authorized under paragraph (4) of subsection d. of this section, provided that the transportation is in compliance with safety regulations the superintendent may promulgate. Nor do those subsections apply to transportation directly to or from exhibitions or demonstrations authorized under the law of another jurisdiction, provided that the superintendent has been given 30 days' notice and that the transportation is in compliance with safety regulations the superintendent may promulgate.
e. Nothing in subsections b., c. and d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent a person keeping or carrying about his place of business, residence, premises or other land owned or possessed by him, any firearm, or from carrying the same, in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section, from any place of purchase to his residence or place of business, between his dwelling and his place of business, between one place of business or residence and another when moving, or between his dwelling or place of business and place where such firearms are repaired, for the purpose of repair. For the purposes of this section, a place of business shall be deemed to be a fixed location.
f. Nothing in subsections b., c. and d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent:
(1) A member of any rifle or pistol club organized in accordance with the rules prescribed by the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, in going to or from a place of target practice, carrying such firearms as are necessary for said target practice, provided that the club has filed a copy of its charter with the superintendent and annually submits a list of its members to the superintendent and provided further that the firearms are carried in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section;
(2) A person carrying a firearm or knife in the woods or fields or upon the waters of this State for the purpose of hunting, target practice or fishing, provided that the firearm or knife is legal and appropriate for hunting or fishing purposes in this State and he has in his possession a valid hunting license, or, with respect to fresh water fishing, a valid fishing license;
(3) A person transporting any firearm or knife while traveling:
(a) Directly to or from any place for the purpose of hunting or fishing, provided the person has in his possession a valid hunting or fishing license; or
(b) Directly to or from any target range, or other authorized place for the purpose of practice, match, target, trap or skeet shooting exhibitions, provided in all cases that during the course of the travel all firearms are carried in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section and the person has complied with all the provisions and requirements of Title 23 of the Revised Statutes and any amendments thereto and all rules and regulations promulgated thereunder; or
(c) In the case of a firearm, directly to or from any exhibition or display of firearms which is sponsored by any law enforcement agency, any rifle or pistol club, or any firearms collectors club, for the purpose of displaying the firearms to the public or to the members of the organization or club, provided, however, that not less than 30 days prior to the exhibition or display, notice of the exhibition or display shall be given to the Superintendent of the State Police by the sponsoring organization or club, and the sponsor has complied with such reasonable safety regulations as the superintendent may promulgate. Any firearms transported pursuant to this section shall be transported in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section;
(4) A person from keeping or carrying about a private or commercial aircraft or any boat, or from transporting to or from such vessel for the purpose of installation or repair a visual distress signaling device approved by the United States Coast Guard.
g. All weapons being transported under paragraph (2) of subsection b., subsection e., or paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection f. of this section shall be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
h. Nothing in subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent any employee of a public utility, as defined in R.S.48:2-13, doing business in this State or any United States Postal Service employee, while in the actual performance of duties which specifically require regular and frequent visits to private premises, from possessing, carrying or using any device which projects, releases or emits any substance specified as being noninjurious to canines or other animals by the Commissioner of Health and which immobilizes only on a temporary basis and produces only temporary physical discomfort through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air for the sole purpose of repelling canine or other animal attacks.
The device shall be used solely to repel only those canine or other animal attacks when the canines or other animals are not restrained in a fashion sufficient to allow the employee to properly perform his duties.
Any device used pursuant to this act shall be selected from a list of products, which consist of active and inert ingredients, permitted by the Commissioner of Health.
i. Nothing in N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent any person who is 18 years of age or older and who has not been convicted of a felony, from possession for the purpose of personal self-defense of one pocket-sized device which contains and releases not more than three-quarters of an ounce of chemical substance not ordinarily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury, but rather, is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air. Any person in possession of any device in violation of this subsection shall be deemed and adjudged to be a disorderly person, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100.00.
j. A person shall qualify for an exemption from the provisions of N.J.S.2C:39-5, as specified under subsections a. and c. of this section, if the person has satisfactorily completed a firearms training course approved by the Police Training Commission.
Such exempt person shall not possess or carry a firearm until the person has satisfactorily completed a firearms training course and shall annually qualify in the use of a revolver or similar weapon. For purposes of this subsection, a "firearms training course" means a course of instruction in the safe use, maintenance and storage of firearms which is approved by the Police Training Commission. The commission shall approve a firearms training course if the requirements of the course are substantially equivalent to the requirements for firearms training provided by police training courses which are certified under section 6 of P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-71). A person who is specified in paragraph (1), (2), (3) or (6) of subsection a. of this section shall be exempt from the requirements of this subsection.
k. Nothing in subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent any financial institution, or any duly authorized personnel of the institution, from possessing, carrying or using for the protection of money or property, any device which projects, releases or emits tear gas or other substances intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or temporary identification.
l. Nothing in subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent a law enforcement officer who retired in good standing 2, including a retirement because of a disability pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-6), section 7 of P.L.1944, c.255 (C.43:16A-7), section 1 of P.L.1989, c.103 (C.43:16A-6.1) or any substantially similar statute governing the disability retirement of federal law enforcement officers, provided the officer was a regularly employed, full-time law enforcement officer for an aggregate of five or more years prior to his disability retirement and further provided that the disability which constituted the basis for the officer's retirement 3did not involve a certification that the officer was mentally incapacitated for the performance of his usual law enforcement duties and any other available duty in the department which his employer was willing to assign to him or 3 does not subject that retired officer to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:58-3 which would disqualify the retired officer from possessing or carrying a firearm 3, who semi-annually qualifies in the use of the handgun he is permitted to carry in accordance with the requirements and procedures established by the Attorney General pursuant to subsection j. of this section and pays the actual costs associated with those semi-annual qualifications 3 2, who is less than 70 years of age, and who was regularly employed as a full-time member of the State Police; a full-time member of an interstate police force; a full-time member of a county or municipal police department in this State; a full-time member of a State law enforcement agency; a full-time sheriff, undersheriff or sheriff's officer of a county of this State; 1a full-time State or county corrections officer; 3 a full-time county park police officer; a full-time county prosecutor's detective or investigator 3 ; or a1 full-time federal law enforcement officer from carrying a handgun in the same manner as law enforcement officers exempted under paragraph (7) of subsection a. of this section under the conditions provided herein:
(1) The retired law enforcement officer, within six months after retirement, shall make application in writing to the Superintendent of State Police for approval to carry a handgun for one year. An application for annual renewal shall be submitted in the same manner.
(2) Upon receipt of the written application of the retired law enforcement officer, the superintendent shall request a verification of service from the chief law enforcement officer of the organization in which the retired officer was last regularly employed as a full-time law enforcement officer prior to retiring. The verification of service shall include:
(a) The name and address of the retired officer;
(b) The date that the retired officer was hired and the date that the officer retired;
(c) A list of all handguns known to be registered to that officer; and
(d) A statement that, to the reasonable knowledge of the chief law enforcement officer, the retired officer is not subject to any of the restrictions set forth in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:58-3 ; and
(e) A statement that the officer retired in good standing.
(3) If the superintendent approves a retired officer's application or reapplication to carry a handgun pursuant to the provisions of this subsection, the superintendent shall notify in writing the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality wherein that retired officer resides. In the event the retired officer resides in a municipality which has no chief law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency, the superintendent shall maintain a record of the approval.
(4) The superintendent shall issue to an approved retired officer an identification card permitting the retired officer to carry a handgun pursuant to this subsection. This identification card shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance and shall be valid throughout the State. The identification card shall not be transferable to any other person. The identification card shall be carried at all times on the person of the retired officer while the retired officer is carrying a handgun. The retired officer shall produce the identification card for review on the demand of any law enforcement officer or authority.
(5) Any person aggrieved by the denial of the superintendent of approval for a permit to carry a handgun pursuant to this subsection may request a hearing in the Superior Court of New Jersey in the county in which he resides by filing a written request for such a hearing within 30 days of the denial. Copies of the request shall be served upon the superintendent and the county prosecutor. The hearing shall be held within 30 days of the filing of the request, and no formal pleading or filing fee shall be required. Appeals from the determination of such a hearing shall be in accordance with law and the rules governing the courts of this State.
(6) A judge of the Superior Court may revoke a retired officer's privilege to carry a handgun pursuant to this subsection for good cause shown on the application of any interested person. A person who becomes subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:58-3 shall surrender, as prescribed by the superintendent, his identification card issued under paragraph (4) of this subsection to the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality wherein he resides or the superintendent, and shall be permanently disqualified to carry a handgun under this subsection.
(7) The superintendent may charge a reasonable application fee to retired officers to offset any costs associated with administering the application process set forth in this subsection.
(cf: P.L.1995, c.280, s.21)
2. (New section) Any retired law enforcement officer who meets all of the requirements set forth in subsection l. of N.J.S.2C:39-6, but retired prior to the effective date of P.L. , c. (now pending before the Legislature as this bill), may apply to carry a handgun. The application shall be in the manner as provided in that subsection and the applicant, if approved, shall be subject to all the requirements set forth therein.
3. This act shall take effect immediately, but section 2 shall expire on the 365th day following enactment.
Permits certain retired law enforcement officers to carry handguns under certain conditions.