Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting a New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun (PCH) below.

Similar to permit requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed handgun permit, what their permits/licenses are called, whether licenses include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, license duration, license costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Carry Permit Basics

New Jersey is now a shall-issue state since the Supreme Court ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen. Shall-issue means licensing authorities are compelled to issue a license as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law. Concealed weapons permits are issued at the local level by municipal police departments or New Jersey State Police. Applicants must first obtain the approval of their local police chief, then present the application to a superior court judge.

A Firearms Purchaser Identification (FPID) card and a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) conducted through a federally licensed firearms dealer are required to buy a handgun from a private individual. Purchases by New Jersey residents must either be from a state-licensed dealer or a private individual who is a resident of New Jersey. In both dealer purchases and private sales, a copy of the purchase permit is sent to the New Jersey State Police Firearms Investigations Unit. A FPID is also required to purchase handgun ammunition from dealers in the state.

Open carry is not explicitly prohibited in New Jersey state law, although a New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun (PCH) is required to carry a firearm in the State. Concealed carry is only legal with a New Jersey PCH. PCHs are issued to residents and non-residents. A firearms training course is required for new applicants, who must be at least 21 years old. In terms of reciprocity, New Jersey does not honor permits from any other states.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed handgun permit/license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the License Requirements in New Jersey?

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a person of good character
  • Have demonstrated he or she is familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns
  • Not be subject to any of the disabilities set forth under state law to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card
  • Have references from 3 persons who have known applicant for a minimum of three years
  • Meet federal law requirements

Do I Need Firearms Training in New Jersey?

Yes.  New Jersey requires that applicants for a permit to carry a handgun demonstrate a “thorough familiarity” with the safe handling and use of handguns, as evidenced by:

  • Completion of a firearms training course substantially equivalent to the firearms training approved by the Police Training Commission
  • Submission of the applicant’s most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings, administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association (NRA) or any other recognized certified firearms instructor
  • Passage of any test of New Jersey’s laws governing the use of force, administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the NRA or any other recognized certified instructor

How Do I Get a Concealed Handgun Permit in New Jersey?

Step 1: Complete a firearm training course, if required.

Step 2: Download the application.

Step 3: Obtain three references (must have known the applicant for a minimum of 3 years).

Step 4: Complete the application form in triplicate and have all three notarized.

Step 5: Have four passport-style photographs taken.

Step 6: Take the notarized applications to your local state police station along with the following:

Pay the fee.
Your fingerprints will be taken.

Step 7: You will be notified within 60 days if your application has been approved or denied.

Step 8: If the application has been approved by the chief police officer or the superintendent, you must present it to the Superior Court of your county, (or to the Superior Court in any county where you intend to carry a handgun in the case of a nonresident or employee of an armored car company). The court shall issue the permit to the applicant, but only if it is satisfied that the applicant is a person of good character who is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in section 2C:58-3c.

For more information, visit the USCCA New Jersey gun laws page now…