Possible Problem With Possession Of Some Air Powered Firearms in New Jersey

Gamo Outdoor Whisper .22 Cal. Air Rifle
Gamo Outdoor Whisper .22 Cal. Air Rifle
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance

TRENTON, NJ –-(Ammoland.com)- Their is a possible problem with possession of some air powered firearms. That could be used for hunting in New Jersey!

With the passage of the new game code, air powered firearms (e.g. pellet gun) will be legal for hunting small game in New Jersey for the first time in 2013, (see the 2013/14 hunting digest for details).

While air powered firearms will now be legal for hunting, THOSE HAVING A NOISE BAFFLING DEVICE, OR SILENCER, MAY NOT BE LEGAL. The noise baffling device, or silencer, is located at the end of the barrel.

Current New Jersey law, 2C:39-1f defines a pellet gun as a firearm:

Firearm” means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, auto or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun or device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectile ball, slug, pellet or missile or bullet, … It should also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of 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-eights of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.”

2C:39-1g. defines a silencer;

“Firearm silencer” means any instrument, attachment, weapon or appliance for causing firing of any gun, revolver, pistol, or other firearm to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm.

2C:39-3c. States:

Silencers. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm silencer is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

New Jersey’s current firearms laws define a pellet/air gun as a firearm. The law states that it is illegal to possess a silencer in the state. The devices that are attached to many of the current air/pellet guns available on the market are by the manufacturer’s own definition, noise baffling or silencing.

Under New Jersey’s current law, firearms with these devices attached appear to be illegal to possess in the state.

The only way to clear up this issue would be with a written opinion from the Attorney Generals office. Absent a written opinion from the Attorney General I took the liberty to contact the New Jersey State Police Firearms Unit in West Trenton and ask their interpretation. They indicated that after a thorough and complete review of the current Title 2C:39 Statutes the devices in question meet the criteria of a silencer as defined in 2C:39-1g and are illegal to possess in New Jersey under the current laws.

In conclusion, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SPORTSMAN/WOMAN TO KNOW FIREARMS LAW, and also fish and wildlife laws. NJOA strongly suggests reading the law so that people can make their own decision based on the facts, and not rely on rumor or individual interpretations. Better to be safe than to end up in court.

Thank you,
Ed Markowski
NJOA Officer
President, NJOA EP
Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement, Division Fish & Wildlife (Retired)

JOIN NJOA: https://www.njoutdooralliance.org/support/njoa.html

NJOA – The mission of New Jersey Outdoor Alliance is to serve as a grassroots coalition of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen dedicated to environmental stewardship. We will champion the intrinsic value of natural resource conservation – including fishing, hunting and trapping, among opinion leaders and policy makers. We will support legislation, and those sponsoring legislation, that provides lasting ecological and social enrichment through sustainable use of the earths resources. Visit: www.njoutdooralliance.org

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Ivan Pistov

New Joisey residents might as well admit that the state has effectively banned firearms. Why do I say this? because there are so many rules, laws, regulations, permits, whatever, that the effect is the same. I am sure that criminals have largely ignored all this. But a person with a job and family and a clean record doesn’t have a chance. I’m really surprised that Christies vetoes the 50 cal bill, saying it would restrict recreational shooting. No record of crime with 50 cal rifles exists. Had there been only ONE crime he would have gone the other way. Besides,… Read more »

VT Patriot

So, any device that propels any type of projectile is a firearm?? You mean my vintage ‘Genuine Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun’ is now a firearm? Slingshots?? Paintball guns?? These folks have really fallen out of the tree and landed on their heads.