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New Jersey Firearms and Handgun Possession Effect of Proposed Federal Legislation

Wall New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys serving Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County and all surrounding NJ areas.

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Posted: July 22, 2009

It used to be that a charge for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Handgun in New Jersey would expose a defendant to little more than a probationary sentence. On January 13, 2008, the penalties in New Jersey for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm took on a whole new meaning even for first time offenders. Effective on that date, the Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Handgun offense (N.J.S.A. 2C: 39-5b.) was elevated from a Third Degree offense (maximum 3 to 5 years in prison) to a Second Degree offense (maximum 5 to 10 years in prison). More importantly to those accused in New Jersey, the presumption of non-incarceration for a third degree offense no longer applied. In other words, even if it is your first offense, you are staring in the face of State Prison and mandatory parole ineligibility time pursuant to the Graves Act. (N.J.S.A. 2C: 43-6c.).

Recently, Federal Legislators have proposed a Bill that would have a major impact on the Unlawful Possession of a Firearm charge in New Jersey. I have read a number of news articles and editorials on this proposed gun amendment but it can be slightly confusing. The concern among some New Jersey residents, New Jersey Legislators and our current Governor, is that the Federal Law will allow residents in New Jersey to obtain a firearms carrier’s permit in another State where it is easy to obtain a carrier’s permit, and then return to New Jersey. Presumably, those with valid carrier’s permits from other States would then be allowed to legally carry in New Jersey and effectively circumvent New Jerseys’ strict limitation on the issuance of carrier’s permits.

I can also see how the new Federal legislation would limit the effectiveness of the amended Unlawful Possession of a Firearm charge in New Jersey. The deterrent effect of having elevated the Possession of a Firearm charge in New Jersey to a second degree, Graves Act offense, may be rendered meaningless once New Jersey residents with questionable backgrounds realize how easy it is to obtain a carrier’s permit in certain other States.

If you have been charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Handgun offense in New Jersey, the consequences may seem severe. There are provisions in the law, however, that allow the prosecutor to deviate from a State prison offer or a mandatory parole ineligibility offer. Probation may even be an option for certain first time offenders depending on the circumstances.

If you have been charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Handgun in New Jersey, or any type of weapons offense, feel free to contact the law office of Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC.

Our attorneys are former prosecutors who have handled hundreds of gun and weapons cases. We know the nuances of the New Jersey Firearm and weapons related statutes and can help you.

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Categories: Criminal Defense

Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC.
732-303-7857