Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is a question that shouldn’t need to be asked

the #3 search term this month for my blog, per Traffic Sources, is “are inherited unregistered handguns in nj house legal?”

Short answer is “Yes.”

I’d like to be able to say “there’s no such thing as an unregistered handgun” in NJ; except that NJ does offer a way to “voluntarily register” handguns purchased legally out of state with the authorities, and, of course, registers handguns purchased in-state via the Permit To Purchase system. That having been said, the law does not distinguish between a registered firearm and an unregistered one (barring machine guns, and, possibly, “assault weapons).

Inheritance appears to be a way to transfer firearms without obtaining a permit to purchase or FID card. NJ 2C:58-3 j: (Follow the chain from this link)

Firearms passing to heirs or legatees.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section concerning the transfer, receipt or acquisition of a firearm, a permit to purchase or a firearms purchaser identification card shall not be required for the passing of a firearm upon the death of an owner thereof to his heir or legatee, whether the same be by testamentary bequest or by the laws of intestacy.  The person who shall so receive, or acquire said firearm shall, however, be subject to all other provisions of this chapter. If the heir or legatee of such firearm does not qualify to possess or carry it, he may retain ownership of the firearm for the purpose of sale for a period not exceeding 180 days, or for such further limited period as may be approved by the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the heir or legatee resides or the superintendent, provided that such firearm is in the custody of the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality or the superintendent during such period.

Anyway, that disposes of the “inherited unregistered” part of the question. Essentially, the law does not care how you came into possession, as long as that route was legal at the time (and the weapon is not otherwise prohibited – there are no grandfathered banned weapons or magazines).

Keeping firearms in your house is one of the expectations to NJ’s blanket firearms ban, of course.

So the long answer is “Yes,” as well.

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