Individuals who want to purchase a handgun, rifle, or shotgun in New Jersey must first get a permit or firearms purchaser identification card (FPID card). The process involves getting approval through the appropriate police department, completing an application online or in person, and providing character references. Law enforcement or another appropriate office will contact your references as part of the application approval process.

On top of a robust vetting process, New Jersey also provides some limitations on who is eligible for a permit or FPID card, limiting who can purchase a firearm in the state. Keep reading to find out whether you’re eligible to obtain a FPID or permit to buy a firearm, and then find out how the team of criminal defense lawyers at the Bianchi Law Group can help.

What Is a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card in New Jersey?

A firearms purchaser identification card lets you purchase a legal rifle or shotgun in New Jersey. It also may be required for ammunition purchases or to carry a gun in specific scenarios.

A firearms purchaser identification card is sometimes referred to as a firearms identification card, or FID. It is different from the permit required to purchase a handgun. If you want to buy a rifle and a handgun, you would need to apply for and receive both of these documents.

Who Can’t Get a Permit or FPID Card to Buy a Gun in New Jersey?

New Jersey law provides a lengthy list of disqualifications that can keep someone from being eligible for a firearms purchaser identification card or handgun permit.

Many of the disqualifications have to do with mental illness or addiction. Someone who is dependent on drugs or alcohol or is currently a patient in a hospital or other institution for the treatment of a mental illness is not eligible.

Suppose you have been previously confined to an inpatient treatment facility, hospital, or other location for the treatment of a mental disorder. In that case, you need a certificate or other document from a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or another qualified healthcare professional that indicates your condition or past condition won’t keep you from handling firearms safely. This is true even if your previous treatment was when you were a teenager or years ago.

Other factors that can make you ineligible include:

  • Being younger than 18
  • Having been adjudicated in the juvenile court system for certain types of offenses
  • Being on the Terrorist Watchlist
  • Being subject to a protection order or domestic violence restraining order
  • Currently having your firearms seized in connection with a domestic violence law violation, even if you were not otherwise directly involved
  • Falsifying information on your permit or firearms ID card application
  • Being convicted of certain crimes, including those involving domestic violence

How Do You Get a Permit or FPID Card?

To apply for a permit or firearms purchaser identification card, you must first consult with a law enforcement officer that has jurisdiction in your area. You can contact your local police department to find out where you should go for this purpose, but it’s typically the local police department or state police office.

Once you complete any necessary paperwork and go through proper channels with law enforcement, you’re provided with an Originating Agent Identifier Number, or ORI. You will need this number to complete the application for a firearms ID card or handgun permit.

You can complete the application online once you have the ORI number. You must submit to fingerprinting if it’s the first time you’ve applied for one of these documents. You will need to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting. First-time applicants may also have to undergo firearms safety training. You will have to pay a fee to apply for a permit or the firearms identification card.

It can take 30 days or more for applications to be processed. If you receive a denial for your application, you do have a right to appeal it. You must submit a request in writing within 30 days.

Protect Your Legal Rights With Help

While state law says that anyone that qualifies for these permits or ID cards must be approved, some of the languages about who doesn’t qualify are not incredibly specific. For example, if law enforcement believes someone has an infirmary that could mitigate their ability to safely handle a firearm, that person might be denied. The same is true if you have certain types of criminal convictions in your past, no matter how much you may have worked to develop a positive life in the meantime.

On top of these issues, it is illegal in most cases to buy firearms or handguns without these permits or ID cards. New Jersey law is quite complex on the ownership of firearms, which means a firearms purchaser identification card may or may not be required to own and use a gun. If you’re worried about the legality of your firearms, consider consulting a lawyer to determine where you stand. The team of former prosecutors at the Bianchi Law Group can help you ensure your firearms ownership is legal or help you fight criminal charges and protect your rights for the future, including eligibility for a firearms ID card or handgun permit.