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Thread: Can I keep a handgun at my rental property in New Jersey?

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    I have a question regarding the firearm laws of New Jersey.

    My family and I will be traveling from Virginia to a house that we are renting in New Jersey. We wish to bring a handgun with us to keep at the rental house for personal protection.

    Our plan is to transport the handgun unloaded, in a locked case, in the trunk of our vehicle. The ammunition will also be in the trunk of the car, separate from the handgun. None of the handgun magazines exceed a 15 round capacity.

    We plan to travel directly from our home in Virginia to the rental house in New Jersey, without making any unnecessary stops while in the state of New Jersey. Once we reach the rental property, we plan to leave the firearm in a locked, quick access safe inside the rental house for the duration of our stay. During the trip back to Virginia, we will travel from the rental house directly to our home in Virginia, only making necessary stops and will again transport the handgun and ammunition in the same manner as described above.

    Applicable New Jersey law:
    NJ Code of Criminal Justice, 2C:39-5. Unlawful Possession of Weapons

    b.Handguns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the third degree if the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person. Otherwise it is a crime of the second degree.

    NJ Code of Criminal Justice, Title 2C:39-6

    e. Nothing in subsections b., c. and d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent a person keeping or carrying about his place of business, residence, premises or other land owned or possessed by him, any firearm, or from carrying the same, in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section, from any place of purchase to his residence or place of business, between his dwelling and his place of business, between one place of business or residence and another when moving, or between his dwelling or place of business and place where such firearms are repaired, for the purpose of repair. For the purposes of this section, a place of business shall be deemed to be a fixed location.

    NJ Code of Criminal Justice, Title 2C:39-6

    g. All weapons being transported under paragraph (2) of subsection b., subsection e., or paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection f. of this section shall be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.

    According to 2C:39-6 e. a person cannot be prevented from "keeping or carrying about his... premises... or other land... possessed by him, any firearm". Meaning that a person does not need a "permit to carry" to keep or carry a handgun while on his premises. In this case, a legal agreement has been signed between my family and the rental home owner, giving us rights to the rental home, which according to the rental agreement and the law will be my family's premises for the duration of the lease agreement. Would everyone agree that the rental property would be considered our "premises" for the duration of our stay?

    Thus based on New Jersey law, I think it is lawful for me to keep a handgun on our rental premises without first obtaining a New Jersey "permit to carry". (Which of course I could not get.)

    I understand that New Jersey law does not require a "permit to carry" to transport a handgun in a motor vehicle, if it meets the standards stated above (from any place of purchase to his residence or place of business, between his dwelling and his place of business, between one place of business or residence and another when moving, or between his dwelling or place of business and place where such firearms are repaired, for the purpose of repair). Would I have to be considered "moving" to be covered by the transportation law?

    I am also aware of the federal Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) which states:

    18 USC Sec 926A

    Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.


    Thus, federal law 18 USC Sec 926A seems to override New Jersey law and allows me to legally transport my firearm from "any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm" (my home in Virginia) "to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm" the property I am renting in New Jersey. I currently meet all Virginia laws, and thus can legally possess and carry my handgun at my home in Virginia.

    Thus, my question is, do you think New Jersey law enforcement will honor Federal law (18 USC Sec 926A) and/or New Jersey law (2C:39-5, 2C:39-6) and allow safe and lawful passage for myself and my family between Virginia and our New Jersey rental house, and also allow lawful possession of a handgun on our New Jersey rental property?

    I called the NJ State Police. They said it was a "gray area" as to whether or not my rental property would be considered my "premises". The lady asked "if I had a good reason for wanting the firearm at the premises, like hunting". I said I had even a better reason for wanting it: Self Defense. She said self defense is not a good reason in New Jersey. She recommended that I leave my firearm at home, which I replied is not a good option for me. She then recommended that I contact a lawyer.

    I'd rather not pay big bucks for a lawyer, but if I need to I just might.

    Suggestions???

    Thanks.

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    IANAL and the legal advise you get on the internet is worth what you pay for it.

    The legal advice you get for free from the New Jersey State Police is, IMHO, worth even less.

    I do not live in New Jersey anymore. I live in Nevada now, but I did for 35 years and I own and still keep firearms on my property in New Jersey.

    I agree with your reading of New Jersey law and you have the right to defend yourself in your home (as defined in the law, but you should read NJ law on the use of force too). Please be aware of the restictions on Hollow Point ammo.

    You have the right to transport your legally owned firearm as decribed in the NJ law. Including to and from a place where you may legally shoot it (a shooting range or club).

    IMHO you should get a NJ firearms ID card.

    Ken

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    18 USC Sec 926A gives you the right to transport from VA into NJ through any state you choose. The terms "premises" and "possessed by him" are the root of the NJ statute. 'Premises' is easily understood to be that geographic area you occupy for purposes of doing something, in this case, living. It can also mean a place of business, but that is separately called out, so it is safe to say the place you're renting. So also called out is 'residence.' Residence generally means your normal place of residing; so again, your temporary rental seems to fall under 'premises.' As in "I am renting these premises."

    That being said, the statute seems to say you are completely legal in having the firearm at your rental property, as you are legally "possessed" of the premises for the period in your rental agreement. I believe a court would also concur, as this is a common law interpretation and "being possessed of property" not a really fine point in statutory law. The chances of it being a problem are nil, unless you shoot someone. As far as opinion of the dimwit NJ fuzz, you would get a better answer talking to a clam washed up on the shore of NY harbor.

    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    CowboyKen and Gunslinger,

    Thank you both for your input. I agree that under the law I should be protected. One of my concerns was whether or not I would get falsely arrested or detained in the rare case I got pulled over, the NJ Officer "discovered" my gun, and then decided to take me in until things got sorted out.

    I may decide to go ahead and get the Firearms ID Card for some extra insurance.

    Thanks.

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    power_shack wrote:
    One of my concerns was whether or not I would get falsely arrested or detained in the rare case I got pulled over, the NJ Officer "discovered" my gun, and then decided to take me in until things got sorted out.

    Highly unlikely.

    Is there something about you, or how you act, that is going to make an officer think that he should get a warrant to search your vehicle on a simple traffic stop?

    If there is, stay out of New Jersey.

    Ken

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    Ken has good advice.A cop cannot search your car without a warrant unless incidental to a felony stop and arrest. Reasonable suspicion, called the "Terry law" by some, says he can pat you down if he has supportable apprehension that you are armed and that may impact his safety. He cannot search your car under that so called 'law.' Probable cause can get him to stop you, but does not allow for searching your car in and of itself.If he stops you for suspected DWI, for example, and then arrests you for it, he can search your car--again, incidental to an arrest. Federal law does not protect you from transporting a firearm, intrastate, where state law limits your right to do so. And, an illegal search could find you have a RPG, but it would not be admissable in court under the "fruit of the poisoned tree" rulings.

    You asked about the rental property, and I believe you are safe in having the gun there. But, unless coming into or leaving the Peoples Democratic Republic of NJ, leave it at the property. If you don't shoot anybody, no one will ever know it was there. So, if you don't break the law, you have nothing to worry about. If you're planning on breaking the law, do it in CT. They have nicer jails, I hear.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    CowboyKen wrote: See, isn't this much nicer...
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    CowboyKen wrote: HA HA!! Rahway Prison on Rt 1, Man, I drove past that place DOZENS of times...used to eat lunch at McD's right across the street...LOL, That place is NOT good...most folk visiting that particular hotel usually walk in but get carried out...(shiver) Gotta love their motto: "Protecting the Public, Changing Lives"...LMAO

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    SNIP Reasonable suspicion, called the "Terry law" by some, says he can pat you down if he has supportable apprehension that you are armed and that may impact his safety. He cannot search your car under that so called 'law.' Probable cause can get him to stop you, but does not allow for searching your car in and of itself.If he stops you for suspected DWI, for example, and then arrests you for it, he can search your car--again, incidental to an arrest. Federal law does not protect you from transporting a firearm, intrastate, where state law limits your right to do so. And, an illegal search could find you have a RPG, but it would not be admissable in court under the "fruit of the poisoned tree" rulings.

    You asked about the rental property, and I believe you are safe in having the gun there. But, unless coming into or leaving the Peoples Democratic Republic of NJ, leave it at the property. If you don't shoot anybody, no one will ever know it was there. So, if you don't break the law, you have nothing to worry about. If you're planning on breaking the law, do it in CT. They have nicer jails, I hear.
    Yes, I think he can.

    Can't recall the court opinion on it, so I won't state it as a fact. This came up roughly March or April 2007. Forum member Tex1n found and posted the opinion in direct evidence of something I posted.

    My understanding is that the officer can search the area inside the car accessible to the driver if there is reasonable suspicion the driver is both armed and presently dangerous.


    Edited to Add: I found it.Below is part of Tex1n's post. Note:The text is taken from Cornell University's website summary of the opinion.Members are encouraged to read the opinion itself, a link to which is provided at the top of the page linked just below:


    Michigan v. Long 463 U.S. 1032 (1983):

    2. The protective search of the passenger compartment of respondent's car was reasonable under the principles articulated in Terry and other decisions of this Court. Although Terry involved the stop and subsequent patdown search for weapons of a person suspected of criminal activity, it did not restrict the preventive search to the person of the detained suspect. Protection of police and others can justify protective searches when police have a reasonable belief that the suspect poses a danger. Roadside encounters between police and suspects are especially hazardous, and danger may arise from the possible presence of weapons in the area surrounding a suspect. Thus, the search of the passenger compartment of an automobile, limited to those areas in which a weapon may be placed or hidden, is permissible if the police officer possesses a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts which, taken together with the rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant the officer to believe that the suspect is dangerous and the suspect may gain immediate control of weapons. If, while conducting a legitimate Terry search of an automobile's interior, the officer discovers contraband other than weapons, he cannot be required to ignore the contraband, and the Fourth Amendment does not require its suppression in such circumstances. The circumstances of this case justified the officers in their reasonable belief that respondent posed a danger if he were permitted to reenter his vehicle. Nor did they act unreasonably in taking preventive measures to ensure that there were no other weapons within respondent's immediate grasp before permitting him to reenter his automobile. The fact that respondent was under the officers' control during the investigative stop does not render unreasonable their belief that he could injure them.
    The U.S. Supreme Court has always taking officer safety into account when defining a "Terry" search.

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote: [quote]
    Yes, I think he can.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has always taking officer safety into account when defining aCowboyKen wrote:
    Highly unlikely.

    Is there something about you, or how you act, that is going to make an officer think that he should get a warrant to search your vehicle on a simple traffic stop?

    If there is, stay out of New Jersey.

    Ken

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    CowboyKen wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    Yes, I think he can.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has always taking officer safety into account when defining aCowboyKen wrote:
    Highly unlikely.

    Is there something about you, or how you act, that is going to make an officer think that he should get a warrant to search your vehicle on a simple traffic stop?

    If there is, stay out of New Jersey.

    Ken
    Not sure I follow. Would you expand on it.

    Separately, "The US Supreme Court has always..." is part of Tex1n's post from last year.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    Gunslinger wrote:
    SNIP Reasonable suspicion, called the "Terry law" by some, says he can pat you down if he has supportable apprehension that you are armed and that may impact his safety. He cannot search your car under that so called 'law.' Probable cause can get him to stop you, but does not allow for searching your car in and of itself.If he stops you for suspected DWI, for example, and then arrests you for it, he can search your car--again, incidental to an arrest. Federal law does not protect you from transporting a firearm, intrastate, where state law limits your right to do so. And, an illegal search could find you have a RPG, but it would not be admissable in court under the "fruit of the poisoned tree" rulings.

    You asked about the rental property, and I believe you are safe in having the gun there. But, unless coming into or leaving the Peoples Democratic Republic of NJ, leave it at the property. If you don't shoot anybody, no one will ever know it was there. So, if you don't break the law, you have nothing to worry about. If you're planning on breaking the law, do it in CT. They have nicer jails, I hear.
    Yes, I think he can.

    Can't recall the court opinion on it, so I won't state it as a fact. This came up roughly March or April 2007. Forum member Tex1n found and posted the opinion in direct evidence of something I posted.

    My understanding is that the officer can search the area inside the car accessible to the driver if there is reasonable suspicion the driver is both armed and presently dangerous.


    Edited to Add: I found it.Below is part of Tex1n's post. Note:The text is taken from Cornell University's website summary of the opinion.Members are encouraged to read the opinion itself, a link to which is provided at the top of the page linked just below:


    Michigan v. Long 463 U.S. 1032 (1983):

    2. The protective search of the passenger compartment of respondent's car was reasonable under the principles articulated in Terry and other decisions of this Court. Although Terry involved the stop and subsequent patdown search for weapons of a person suspected of criminal activity, it did not restrict the preventive search to the person of the detained suspect. Protection of police and others can justify protective searches when police have a reasonable belief that the suspect poses a danger. Roadside encounters between police and suspects are especially hazardous, and danger may arise from the possible presence of weapons in the area surrounding a suspect. Thus, the search of the passenger compartment of an automobile, limited to those areas in which a weapon may be placed or hidden, is permissible if the police officer possesses a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts which, taken together with the rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant the officer to believe that the suspect is dangerous and the suspect may gain immediate control of weapons. If, while conducting a legitimate Terry search of an automobile's interior, the officer discovers contraband other than weapons, he cannot be required to ignore the contraband, and the Fourth Amendment does not require its suppression in such circumstances. The circumstances of this case justified the officers in their reasonable belief that respondent posed a danger if he were permitted to reenter his vehicle. Nor did they act unreasonably in taking preventive measures to ensure that there were no other weapons within respondent's immediate grasp before permitting him to reenter his automobile. The fact that respondent was under the officers' control during the investigative stop does not render unreasonable their belief that he could injure them.
    The U.S. Supreme Court has always taking officer safety into account when defining a "Terry" search.
    I believe this state law interpretation from '83 has subsequently been overturned in the Federal Courts. Really don't have the time to look it up right now, but I seem to recall that the operant fact was the cops, having makeable cause to fear the guy may have weapons in his car, had the duty to 1: not allow him to return to the vehicle; 2: with now greater than reasonable suspicion, they had probable cause to request a search warrant. Failing that, they violated 4th amendment protection of the guy's right to be free from unreasonable search. That is the whole purpose of the court, not some *******, fat bellied cop in Mosquitoville, LA, making the decision with respect to constitutional rights. Federal courts, as most of you are well aware, apply a much stricter level of interpretation to Bill of Rights issues. (Hence, DC v. Heller having that scrutiny being a major issue of the ultimate ruling) Thus, it is not unusual at all for the Federal Court, on appeal via a rights issue, overruling state courts. I believe this is the case here. Again, I can't say for sure, and will look it up sometime when I have the chance.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Citizen wrote:
    CowboyKen wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    Yes, I think he can.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has always taking officer safety into account when defining aCowboyKen wrote:
    Highly unlikely.

    Is there something about you, or how you act, that is going to make an officer think that he should get a warrant to search your vehicle on a simple traffic stop?

    If there is, stay out of New Jersey.

    Ken
    Not sure I follow. Would you expand on it.

    Separately, "The US Supreme Court has always..." is part of Tex1n's post from last year.
    My post above got garbled. I tried to say that Citzen's post did not change my opinion.

    IMHO, Cops (even in NJ)don't usuallywaste their time hasseling people who don't give them a reason. They don't usually search vehicles, legally or not, without a good reason. I have been stopped in NJ a few times. I have not even been asked to exit my vehicle.

    If you think that you or your vehicle will induce officers to want to conduct a search, it is my opinion that you would be wise to NOT come to New Jersey. Is that OK?

    Ken

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    Ken has good advice.A cop cannot search your car without a warrant unless incidental to a felony stop and arrest. Reasonable suspicion, called the "Terry law" by some, says he can pat you down if he has supportable apprehension that you are armed and that may impact his safety. He cannot search your car under that so called 'law.' Probable cause can get him to stop you, but does not allow for searching your car in and of itself.If he stops you for suspected DWI, for example, and then arrests you for it, he can search your car--again, incidental to an arrest. Federal law does not protect you from transporting a firearm, intrastate, where state law limits your right to do so. And, an illegal search could find you have a RPG, but it would not be admissable in court under the "fruit of the poisoned tree" rulings.

    You asked about the rental property, and I believe you are safe in having the gun there. But, unless coming into or leaving the Peoples Democratic Republic of NJ, leave it at the property. If you don't shoot anybody, no one will ever know it was there. So, if you don't break the law, you have nothing to worry about. If you're planning on breaking the law, do it in CT. They have nicer jails, I hear.
    We have overcrowded jails....we also issue permits to non-residents..so you would not be forced to leave it at your "home" if you were here!

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    "When an officer stops an occupant of a vehicle and has reasonable suspicion to believe that he/she has been involved in criminal activity and may be armed and dangerous. The occupant may be patted down for weapons and portions of the vehicle where a weapon might be readily accessible may be searched including unlocked containers (i.e. the glovebox)."

    I guess this is as close as I can get, quickly. The key phrase being highlighted. Must have suspicion ofcriminal activity, not just searching, under Terry, for weapons. It strictly limits, even with suspicion of criminal activity, the search for weapons. It excludes any locked boxes, including glovebox, or areas not readily accessible. This last exclusion has been substantiated in 18 USC Sec 926A concerning peaceful transport of firearms interstate. Clearly, Federal laws and court decisions tie together much neater than those of the several states. Federal courts will toss anything found in an illegal search much quicker than state courts, in general. And that is how it should be. As an aside, if you have a CCW, the cops cannot search your vehicle for weapons. In many states, like CO and TX, having a weapon in your car is fully legal. Again, they cannot search for it, failing probable cause of a crime or an actual arrest.

    Going back to the OP, like I said before, have it in your car only when going to and then coming from NJ and there will be no issue.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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