(1) How is a stun gun defined under New Jersey law?
A: “Stun gun” means any weapon or other device that emits an electrical charge or current intended to temporarily or permanently disable a person. This would include Tasers®.
(2) Is stun gun possession prohibited under New Jersey law?
A: Stun Gun possession is prohibited under two New Jersey laws: N.J.S. 2C:39-3h. and/or N.J.S. 2C:39-5d.
N.J.S. 2C:39-3h. specifically prohibits stun gun possession. (Note: This law is no longer enforceable, see below.)
N.J.S. 2C:39-5d. prohibits possession of any other weapon “…under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have…” (Note: This law remains in force and effect, see below.)
A lawsuit challenging the stun gun ban was brought by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society. There was a Consent Order entered into by the parties. Following the Consent Order a Memorandum was issued on October 20, 2017 by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office declaring N.J.S. 2C:39-3h invalid and no longer enforceable. HOWEVER that same Memorandum declared that N.J.S. 2C:39-5d “…remains in force and effect and shall continue to be enforced…”
Under current New Jersey case law (See State v. Montalvo), pre-emptively arming oneself with a weapon for use OUTSIDE the home is NOT a court recognized “lawful use” under N.J.S. 2C:39-5d. Therefore, although a stun gun may now be possessed INSIDE the home for self-defense use, it can NOT be possessed/carried OUTSIDE the home for self-defense use. (Note: Possession of a stun gun INSIDE the home under N.J.S. 2C:39-5d was lawful even before the lawsuit, by way of exemption under N.J.S. 2C:39-6e. ) Bottomline: the lawsuit achieved legalizing possession of stun guns in the home by invalidating N.J.S. 2C:39-3h, but failed to make carrying a stun gun outside the home legal, because N.J.S. 2C:39-5d was left in force and effect.
(3) May stun guns legally be manufactured, transported, shipped, sold or disposed of under New Jersey law?
N.J.S. 2C:39-9d. prohibits the manufacture, transport, shipping, sale or disposal of certain weapons. (Note: This law is no longer enforceable as to stun guns and Tasers®, see below.)
Pursuant to the Memorandum was issued on October 20, 2017 by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office declared N.J.S. 2C:39-9d. invalid and no longer enforceable as to stun guns and Tasers®.
(4) What are the penalties for unlawful possession of a stun gun under New Jersey law?
A: Unlawful possession of stun guns under N.J.S. 2C-39-5d is a crime of the fourth degree. The maximum jail time is eighteen months in State prison and the maximum fine is $10,000.
(5) Are minors allowed to possess, acquire or be given stun guns under New Jersey law?
A: Under N.J.A.C.13:54-1.3 No person shall sell, give, transfer, assign, or otherwise dispose of a stun gun to a person under 18 years of age, and no person under 18 years of age shall receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire a stun gun. Under N.J.A.C.13:54-5.8 No person under 18 years of age shall possess a stun gun. Any stun gun possessed by a person under the age of 18 shall be subject to confiscation by law enforcement.
LOOPHOLES & PITFALLS
It is unfortunate that the lawsuit failed to achieve stun gun carry outside the home for New Jersey. It could have been a useful tool for self- defenders, especially in a State that prefers to see crime victims, instead of self-defenders being able to have the tools of self-defense.