New Jersey’s laws are some of the worst in the nation as far as recognizing the right to keep and bear arms. There’s no language in the state constitution that specifically acknowledges that right, and the state’s gun laws treat the right as a privilege.
Before you can purchase long gun in the state you must obtain a Firearms ID card, and if you want to buy a handgun, you’ll have to first obtain a pistol purchase permit. That allows you to purchase a single handgun, but in order to receive it you’ll need to provide a host of documentation to local police, including character witnesses in some jurisdictions.
Every additional handgun you want to buy requires a new pistol purchase permit. And all of this is in addition to the NICS check done at the gun store when you actually make the purchase.
That maze of bureaucratic red tape helps to artificially suppress demand for legally owned firearms in the state, but despite the draconian gun laws in the state, New Jersey residents are embracing their Second Amendments like never before.
New Jersey is witnessing an unprecedented surge in gun permit applications and firearm purchases, according to state statistics and gun shop owners. Up and down the state, from cities like Hoboken to suburban towns like Brick, residents are coming out in droves to buy guns. It’s causing major delays in the law enforcement background check process, and gun shops can’t keep their shelves stocked.There were 442,214 handgun permit applications filed in 2020, according to the New Jersey State Police. That’s a staggering 332% increase from the 102,270 filed in 2019.The largest spike in applications came in June, following the May 25 death of Floyd and the ensuing widespread protests against police brutality. There were 109,709 applications filed that month, compared to just 18,038 in May.Applications dipped to 42,694 in July and hovered around 40,000 each month until December, when the number fell to 32,841. But there are no indications that interest in gun ownership is waning. From Jan. 1 to Jan. 12, there were 9,344 applications submitted, the State Police said.
Joe Hawk, the owner of Guns & Roses gun shop, has to rub his eyes to make sure he’s seeing straight every time he looks at his sales numbers.Since March 2020, business is up 1,000%, he said. He sold more than 5,000 guns just in the final nine-plus months of the year.“I know — it’s hard to believe those numbers,” Hawk said.His business was going strong during the height of the pandemic. It got even busier after the election. Then came the riots last week at the Capitol. On Tuesday, his tiny store was so crowded, he had customers wait outside.“We haven’t been able to get out of the store until 3 a.m., and we open at 12 in the afternoon,” Hawk said. “I never thought in my life it would be this busy.”The statistic that’s jumped out to him is three out of every 10 customers is a first-time gun buyer, he said. Prior to the pandemic, one in every 20 customers was making their first firearms purchase.