Buying Ammo and Guns in New Jersey

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece discusses the ammunition and firearms laws that apply in New Jersey. To do so, the piece begins with the laws concerning ammunition, with a focus on the ammunition buying process. From there, the piece dives into the firearms laws of the state, examining both the buying processes as well as the legalities of carrying firearms within the state. To wrap things up, the piece offers some resources that we think you will find useful if you are interested in owning and carrying firearms and ammunition in New Jersey. 

We do not intend this piece as legal advice. Instead, we hope that you find the information here useful in making your own decisions.

New Jersey is one of the few states that does not have preemption. This means that localities such as counties, cities, and towns are free to make their own firearms and ammunition laws. Because of this, this piece focuses on the big picture of state firearms laws, but the above warning about this piece not being legal advice goes doubly so at the local level: be sure to do your homework, or consult with a local attorney, for area-specific rules, laws, and practices in New Jersey. 

This state is a contender for having the strictest firearms laws in the nation. New Jersey requires permits to purchase firearms and ammunition, has several different types of bans in place, and generally onerous processes to apply for those permits. This piece will focus mainly on those bans and restrictions to aid in understanding these highly restrictive firearms laws.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in New Jersey

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state.

New Jersey is complex when it comes to ammunition laws when compared to most states. The state requires an active firearms permit (it can be the overall Firearms Purchaser ID card, Permit to Purchase a Handgun, or Permit to Carry a Handgun) to buy ammunition for handguns, but does not have the same requirement to do so for ammunition intended for rifles or shotguns.

To apply for the Firearms Purchaser ID or Permit to Purchase a Handgun, one has to go, likely in person, to the local police department, and get a special number from them. With said number in hand, the applicant can then fill out an online application and pay a fee before waiting an indeterminate period of time. This process might well take over a month to complete.
This requirement alone means that most online retailers are not willing to ship any ammunition to the state, likely to avoid legal liabilities. While it might be technically legal to ship rifle and shotgun ammo to the state since it is not specifically forbidden, retailers are likely not willing to bother having to make that distinction in court.

In addition to meeting the restrictive permitting requirements, federal laws still apply in New Jersey. Buyers of ammo have to meet an age requirement: eighteen or older for long gun ammo and twenty-one or older for handgun ammo. Additionally, buyers cannot be prohibited persons, which the ATF defines as people who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, people who have been found mentally unfit in court, and those who have been involuntarily committed to an inpatient mental health facility.

The majority of online retailers are not willing to enforce NJ’s permitting requirements to purchase ammunition and thus are unwilling to ship ammo to the state, even to buyers who can legally get said ammunition and have the permit. The easiest way to acquire ammunition legally in New Jersey is to get one of the relevant permits and purchase it in person: it is one of the more restrictive sets of ammo laws in the country.  

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in New Jersey 

Next, we will do the same analysis for NJ gun laws.

New Jersey has several major bans. The state bans the sale and possession of magazines that are over ten rounds in capacity. The state also has an “assault weapons” ban which prohibits most modern semi-automatic rifles and shotguns without substantial modifications such as adding non-threaded barrels and fixed magazines.  NJ also prohibits its residents from owning NFA items, such as machine guns, suppressors, and short-barreled rifles and shotguns.

Assuming you want to purchase one of the firearms not prohibited by the state outright, there are several processes that might need to be followed. If the buyer plans to purchase a long gun, they’ll need the above-linked Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. From there, the buyer will need to take that, another ID, and payment to the gun store. The FFL will then have the buyer fill out Form 4473, and the buyer can leave the same day with their firearm assuming that the background check and payment are both clear.

For handguns, the buyer will need to have the Handgun Purchase permit. This comes with an additional mandatory week-long waiting period, as the state requires people to get a new one of these permits with each handgun purchase. Because the permits themselves take several weeks to process at the state level, the practical waiting period for buying a handgun in the state is around one month - the longest in the nation as of this writing.

All private firearm sales in the state are also subject to the above processes and thus must be run through an FFL to facilitate compliance with the state’s rules. 

Carrying a firearm in New Jersey is similarly restrictive.  Even with a concealed carry permit, it is not generally legal to carry a firearm openly anywhere in the state except on private property. The state requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun: the permitting process requires a special number issued by the state’s Bureau of Investigation to certify a background check, complete records of training received, four personal references that are not in the applicant’s family, information on the handguns the applicant intends to carry, and a $200 fee. It is one of the more involved applications in the country, and the permit has to be renewed every two years.  While the permit is honored in some states, none of the neighboring states honor NJ’s concealed carry permit.

Even with the permit, New Jersey bans firearms from several locations, including:

  • Schools

  • Sporting Events

  • Universities

  • Hospitals

  • Courts

  • Polling Places

  • Legislative Assemblies

  • Correctional Facilities

New Jersey is home to the headquarters of Henry Repeating Arms: they focus mainly on the manufacturing of lever-action firearms.

In effect, New Jersey requires a separate permit to do most things with firearms. By the time a person has a handgun and a concealed carry permit, they will have likely spent several months and hundreds of dollars on training and permitting fees. Because of these restrictions, as well as numerous bans on classes of firearms and accessories, New Jersey’s gun laws are a serious contender for being the strictest that the USA has to offer.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in New Jersey 

New Jersey’s state sales tax rate is 6.63%, and this rate applies to the whole state. While NJ does not impose specific taxes on firearms, there’s a reasonable argument that all of the permitting fees are defacto taxes on gun ownership. There have been past legislative proposals to institute taxes on firearm and ammo sales, which have a good chance of passing if proposed in the future.

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including those located in New Jersey. This list can be used to find local gun stores, which are usually Type One or Type Two FFLs.

  • is an excellent tool for finding convenient shooting ranges. Use the mileage, zip code, and city filters to find ranges close to where you want to shoot. Users can add new ranges, and the information is regularly checked for accuracy. 

  • NJ is home to a number of well-reputed gun stores.

  • There is a somewhat active subreddit for gun owners in the state.

New Jersey Gun Law FAQ:

Because the state requires permits to purchase handgun ammunition, most online retailers are not willing to risk shipping ammo to the state. Southern Defense is, provided you meet the state's requirements.

The state does not specifically forbid open carry. But, localities are free to restrict it and many do. Check local laws before considering openly carrying a firearm in the state, as it is not a gun-friendly state.

Yes, but to do so you’ll need the permit to purchase the gun and another permit to carry it. The combined cost for those two permits will likely be north of $300.00 and does not include mandatory training or renewals.

Not in the least: the state has several bans on types of firearms, and the sheer number of permits required to possess or carry firearms makes doing so onerous for many people.

Yes, the state bans many modern semi-auto rifles and shotguns in their normal configurations: some manufacturers are kind enough to make versions that comply with local laws, usually with fixed magazines and different barrels.