Attorney Allain Marain


Legal problems involving firearms problems fall into two different categories. The first category involves persons charged with crimes in which firearms are involved. These crimes can range from simple unauthorized possession of a firearm, to use of a firearm in commission of a crime. And the second category involves obtaining authorization to possess a firearm in the first place.

Both New Jersey and the federal government define firearms crimes. New Jersey firearms crimes are found in the New Jersey Criminal Code, Title 2C of New Jersey statutes. Chapter 39 of Title 2C is entitled, "Firearms, Other Dangerous Weapons and Instruments of Crime". Federal firearms crimes are defined in Chapter 44 of Title 18 of the United States Code. Chapter 44 of the United States Code is entitled, simply, "Firearms". Specific unlawful acts are defined there, at 18 U.S.C. § 922.

The most frequently encountered New Jersey firearms crimes are N.J.S. 2C:39-4, and N.J.S. 2C:39-5. N.J.S. 2C:39-4 prohibits possession of a weapon (any weapon) for an unlawful purpose. To be found guilty of that crime, the State is not required to prove that the weapon in question was actually unlawfully used. The mere possession of the weapon is sufficient sustain guilt, if the unlawful purpose is established.

N.J.S. 2C:39-5 prohibits unlawful possession of weapons (including, of course, firearms). Concerning firearms, a variety of factors can make their possession unlawful. For example, the possessor is required to first obtain a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPID); absent specific written permission by a person authorized to give such permission, the possession must not be on the building or grounds of any educational institution; the possessor must not have been previously convicted of a crime. These three examples are far from exhaustive. And in many instances, exceptions exist.

As of early 2018, 18 U.S.C. § 922 contains 8,558 words. These 8,558 words define numerous federal crimes. These federal crimes specify who can have a firearm, who can sell one, and various exceptions to these requirements. § 922 also regulates ammunition. Examples of who cannot legally possess a firearm include persons previously convicted of a crime; persons who are fugitives from justice; persons who have been committed to a mental institution; and persons subject to a domestic violence restraining order. Many of these disqualfications can be removed. Criminal convictions can often be expunged, as can prior mental health commitments. Domestic violence restraining orders can be removed.

The second category of legal problems involving firearms involves obtaining authorization to possess a firearm. As indicated above, persons possessing of a firearm are required to also possess a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPID). Chapter 58 in Title 2C of New Jersey statutes specifies who qualifies for this FPID. Many federal disqualifications were also be New Jersey disqualifications. Like federal disqualifications, many New Jersey disqualfications. And like federal disqualifications, many of these New Jersey disqualfications can be removed.

Lawyers in the Law Offices of Allan Marain on a regular basis help persons who have firearms problems. Whether these problems arise from present criminal charges, past criminal convictions, mental health commitments, or simple bureaucratic static, these lawyers go that extra mile for their clients. They have a special web site devoted to New Jersey gun law, Go there! Call them. Your initial conference is free.

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