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Is a firearms id card required to own, possess, or use a rifle or shotgun in a shooting range in NJ? I know there is an exception for inheritance but what about a gift or out of state gift? Would it be then legally necessary to get a firearm id card for the rifle even though you won’t be purchasing any in NJ?

  • What does it mean to "own a rifle in a shooting range"? You own the gun, but you store it at the range and only use it there? – Nate Eldredge Jun 27 '19 at 12:04
  • @NateEldredge Let's say you were currently an NJ resident and received a gift (single shot bolt action rifle) from someone when you were out of state, would it be legal to bring it back to NJ or would you have to apply for a FID before you could bring your property back to NJ with you and use it as someone who ordinarily purchased it in NJ with an FID... the unique situation here is you have no FID because you do not plan on buying a weapon in NJ or anywhere. – CodeCamper Jun 27 '19 at 13:39
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You have a lot of different, but related, questions grouped together. I have included the relevant statutes in the longer answer below, but to summarize:

Under Federal Law, you may not receive as a gift a firearm from a person who resides in another state without going through a licensed dealer in your state.

Under New Jersey law, you must have a firearms purchaser identification card in order to possess a rifle that you own at a range or any other location. You may receive a rifle as a gift from a person who lives in New Jersey provided you have a firearms purchaser identification card and the transfer is registered with the chief of police of the municipality in which you reside or the superintendent.

You may possess a rifle at a shooting range in New Jersey without a firearms purchaser identification card if the rifle was lent to you by the licensed range or a licensed instructor.

Let's start with transferring firearms from the federal perspective:

From the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives:

Under Federal law, an unlicensed individual [someone without a Federal Firearms License] is prohibited from transferring a firearm to an individual who does not reside in the State where the transferee resides. Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) within the recipient’s State of residence.

There is an exception for inheritances.

Federal Law does allow one to purchase long-guns (rifles and shotguns) across state lines if the laws of both states are followed but the purchase must be from a licensed dealer.

New Jersey allows the purchase of rifles and shotguns across state lines but requires that a purchaser have a firearms purchaser identification card:

b. Firearms purchaser identification card. No person shall sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of nor receive, purchase or otherwise acquire an antique cannon or a rifle or shotgun, other than an antique rifle or shotgun, unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, and first exhibits said card to the seller, donor, transferor or assignor, and unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder signs a written certification, on a form prescribed by the superintendent, which shall indicate that he presently complies with the requirements of subsection c. of this section and shall contain his name, address and firearms purchaser identification card number or dealer's registration number. The said certification shall be retained by the seller, as provided in paragraph (4) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:58-2, or, in the case of a person who is not a dealer, it may be filed with the chief of police of the municipality in which he resides or with the superintendent.

You must have a firearms purchaser identification card in order to possess a rifle unless it is under one of two specific exceptions for the temporary possession of the rifle.

New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, § Sec. 2C:39-5 Unlawful possession of weapons states in part:

c. Rifles and shotguns

  1. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-3, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

There are exceptions for the temporary possession of firearms spelled out in 2c:58-3.1 and 2c:58-3.2:

2C:58-3.1:

...The person to whom a handgun, rifle or shotgun is temporarily transferred by the legal owner of the firearm or a licensed dealer may receive, possess, carry and use that handgun, rifle or shotgun, if the transfer is made upon a firing range operated by a licensed dealer, by a law enforcement agency, a legally recognized military organization or a rifle or pistol club which has filed a copy of its charter with the superintendent and annually submits to the superintendent a list of its members and if the firearm is received, possessed, carried and used for the sole purpose of target practice, trap or skeet shooting, or competition upon that firing range or instruction and training at any location.

2c:58-3.2:

...The person to whom a firearm is transferred by a certified instructor in accordance with the terms of this section may receive, possess, carry and use the firearm temporarily during the sessions of the course for the purpose of training and participating in the course.

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  • thank you for the useful references, so if someone who already owned a rifle and lived in PA and wanted to move to NJ they basically could not move to NJ with their property without first obtaining a firearms ID card and if you have a friend in PA they could not gift you a rifle without going through the federal process unless it was a family inheritance. – CodeCamper Jun 27 '19 at 18:10
  • Someone moving to NJ from PA with a rifle is a different situation and different question. The second statement is correct, someone in a different state cannot gift you a rifle without going through the federal process. The federal process, though, is easy and quite common - ship the rifle to an FFL in New Jersey and then go in and get the rifle. Most FFLs will charge a small handling fee for the background check. Where I live it ranges from $15-$25. The FFL will make sure all federal and local laws are followed in performing the transfer. Most gun stores will provide the service. – Dave D Jun 27 '19 at 18:20

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