The New Jersey law that bans more arms than any other

The New Jersey law that bans more arms than any other
(AP Photo/Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

New Jersey has a special place in the pages of Bearing Arms and other Second Amendment news sources. They’re just so rich and ripe with infringements that trying to cover everything is like drinking from a firehose. A recent article by colleague, friend, advocate, podcaster, author and attorney Evan Nappen raised the alarm on a very serious situation in the Garden State. The news is so big, it was covered by our friends over at AmmoLand News, The Truth About Guns, and by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs. It may seem like we’re coming late to the game, but we’ll get to that.


Nappen wrote in his AmmoLand article about the biggest gun ban of all time:

When Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Democrats rushed a flurry of gun laws through the legislature last June of 2022, one of the laws rammed through was under the guise of banning guns with no serial numbers.

This law banned millions of rifles, shotguns, handguns, hunting guns, target shooting guns, military surplus guns, and virtually ALL muzzleloaders, black powder guns, antique guns, air guns and BB guns

There are NO exceptions and there is NO grandfathering. This was the largest gun ban ever passed in the history of the United States.

The law bans ALL firearms with a “…firearm frame or firearm receiver …which is not imprinted with a serial number registered with a federally licensed manufacturer…”

The term “firearm frame or firearm receiver” means the part of a firearm that provides housing for the internal components.

For ANY firearm to be legal in New Jersey, it must now meet two criteria established by this law:

1) the firearm must be imprinted with a serial number; and
2) the serial number must be registered with a federally licensed manufacturer.

The extensive list of arms that would be banned due to this law, Nappen lists to include: Pre-1968 firearms without serial numbers, many BB and pellet guns, several different muzzleloading firearms, antique firearms, some surplus foreign military arms, and potentially more.

I was first alerted of this when it went to publication almost two weeks ago and wanted to do some digging of my own with New Jersey’s Attorney General. There’s no way the legislative intent of this law was to outlaw that many arms, this was a law written to stop so-called “ghost guns.” The AG can’t possibly be enforcing this law in the manner Nappen described.


In my June 1st, 2023 email to the New Jersey Attorney General’s office I wrote:

Attention Office of AG:

I’m writing because I’d like to follow up with the Attorney General’s office on something I intend on reporting on. I’m a freelance writer at a number of online sites and cover Second Amendment related news (bylines in signature block). Recently, firearms attorney Evan Nappen put out a number of pieces of media that highlight New Jersey’s prohibition on a number of different firearms being classified as so-called “ghost guns.” Looking over N.J.S. 2C:39-3 N, it appears the statute – in conjunction with other statutes – has outlawed the possession, transport, transfer, disposal, etc. of “no serial number,” aka NSN firearms pre-1968, as well as many bb guns and other firearms as defined by NJ statute. Given the language of this/these statute/s, a number of New Jersey residents became felons upon enactment of the law, with no mechanism for grandfathering or legal disposal/transport of such arms.

Here are pieces of media put out by Nappen for your office to review:

New Jersey Politicians Enact Largest Gun Ban in U.S. History (
Episode 135-Largest Gun Ban in USA – Gun Lawyer Podcast
NJ’s Newest Gun Ban – Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (

In the podcast, in particular, Mr. Nappen provided a recording of a State Police Officer – Detective Walker – giving advice that seems contrary to what the law says, noting the following from the transcript:

Detective Walker 27:52 No problem. I’m just calling in reference to the letter you sent to the Office of Attorney General in regard to your, what is it, a shotgun?

Robert 28:02  Yeah, it’s a shotgun that my father bought in 1956. No serial number.

Detective Walker 28:07 Yeah. So, um, a lot of them, a lot of those firearms that were manufactured back then don’t have serial numbers.

Robert 28:17 Right.

Detective Walker 28:19 So, like, what, uh, where would you be like using this? Like, like shooting clays and stuff or, like, bring it to the range?

Robert 28:25 Exactly. Shooting clays primarily.

Detective Walker 28:27 As long as, um, as long as you’re transporting it properly, you’re not gonna have any issues with something like that. That, the statute that you’re like referring to, is like, that’s for, I’m trying to read through it here, is where I read before. You’re doing it like intentionally. Like, you’re not, you can’t put a serial number on that gun, you know.

What is the Attorney General’s stance on this topic? I’d like to be able to quote him directly for my readers’ benefit. As you can understand, this is a very serious situation and many people do not know how to proceed with firearms that were perfectly legal prior to enactment of these laws.

I thank you in advance for any information you can provide. I’d like to have copy out mid-next week if possible, so I appreciate an expeditious explanation of the law and the Attorney General’s policy concerning it.

Warmest Regards,
John Petrolino


The Attorney General’s Office actually got back to me quickly the next day on the 2nd of June. An unnamed respondent asked if I had a deadline, to which I noted I wanted to roll this piece out by Wednesday. A subsequent response came in on Tuesday June 6th from a representative over at the AG’s office. Their reply:


Thank you for reaching out.  We have no comment.

While I’m glad we all got a response, I’m disappointed the Attorney General failed to comment on the status of this law. 

What does this mean? Does this mean that it was the legislative intent for NJ lawmakers to outlaw such a wide swath of firearms in the biggest unconstitutional gun ban in American history? Or, are our legislators and Governor Phil Murphy so damned stupid they did not realize that those words they put on those pages have meaning, and that they outlawed more than just ghost guns.

Given this is New Jersey we’re talking about, there should be no nail biting – the reason could be both. Let’s face it, the NJ progressive lawmakers are stupid, as is Phil Murphy – they’re completely blinded by their hubris attitudes towards everything. There’s no lack of ignorance in Trenton or at Drumthwacket. We also know that all three branches of government in New Jersey hold nothing but contempt for the people, and pulling a move like this could have been intentional. Regardless of the situation here, they’re both tyrants and idiots.

How this is going to flesh out, I’m interested to see. If the State is not working to reconcile this with some of the lobbyists that support the Second Amendment in New Jersey, I do hope they’re ready for some more litigation smack-downs. It would probably be prudent to just fold on this one Governor Murphy, there are so many more battles going on that you’re wasting my money on.


Have your own questions about the law? You can reach out to Governor Phil Murphy’s office HERE.

For a great podcast episode on this topic by Attorney Evan Nappen click HERE or tune in to the embed below! You might find the recording of the NJ State Police Officer be something you need one day should you find yourself in a sling.

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