How to Buy a Gun in New Jersey

If you are looking to buy a gun in New Jersey, this article with explain the process including permitting, age requirements, waiting periods and background checks.  


There are two different permits relevant to buying a gun in New Jersey:

  • Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC):

This permit is required for the purchase of long guns in NJ. You can apply for the permit at any local police department. After a background check, you will be mailed your FPIC, and this can take up to 30 days. 

The FPIC is good for unlimited purchases of long guns. In addition, every long gun transaction will include filling out and submitting a Certificate of Eligibility form by the seller and buyer. This includes shotguns, rifles, black powder and BB rifles.  

If you are residing out of state, you will follow the same procedure to purchase long guns in the State of New Jersey, although the waiting period is extended to 45 days in this case. 

  • Permit to Purchase a Handgun:

This permit is required for the purchase of a handgun, and is only good for the purchase of one gun. Again, the application process starts at your local police station and will include a background check. 

If you reside out of state, you will not be permitted to purchase a handgun in New Jersey. 

Both permit applications will include a requirement that you list 3 references and their contact information. During the background check, these references will be checked to verify that you are of sound mental health and judgement. 


You will be required to give your fingerprints when applying to either of the above permits. The current fee for this is $57.50. 

Waiting Period:

For long guns there is no waiting period in New Jersey, as long as you have your FPIC which has a 30 day waiting period from the time of application. 

There is an additional 7 day waiting period when you buy a handgun which starts when the Certificate of Eligibility is filed with the authorities, which is completed for every single sale of a handgun. 

Age Requirements:

The minimum age for a long gun is 18, and the minimum age for a handgun is 21. 

The age provision also applies to carrying and firing guns, with the exception of when the minor is under the direct supervision of someone that carries the proper permit, or for hunting (as long as they have a hunting license and have completed a hunter’s safety course). 

People under the age of 21 are not able to purchase handgun ammunition in the State of New Jersey. 


For any sale of firearms in the State of New Jersey, the seller is required to check that the buyer has the appropriate permit, and one form of photo identification. 

Background Check:

The background check to buy a gun in NJ is processed through the New Jersey State Police, who also make use of federal agencies such as the NICS to verify eligibility. In general, federal eligibility following the Universal Background Checks procedures are enforced. 

In addition, the references you listed on your permit application will be contacted. You will also need to give the State of New Jersey permission to search your mental health records as part of the application process. 

You will be restricted from purchasing a firearm in New Jersey if you are:

Concealed Carry:

You can apply for a concealed carry license at your local police station.  In addition to a background check, you will need to demonstrate a “justifiable need” to carry concealed. 

A concealed carry permit in New Jersey requires a judicial hearing. The applicant must make a successful case that they have a “justifiable need,” which means they can demonstrate they are subject to direct threats or a history of attacks which constitutes a special need for self-defense. You may need a lawyer to help you make your case if you think “justifiable need” applies in your case. 


After you purchase your gun, you will need to call your local Police Department to ask them for their procedures for registering your firearm. Often they have their own forms for this procedure. Fees can vary as well. 


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