Gun Lawyer Episode 135
firearms, gun, law, new jersey, serial number, guns, transport, black powder, manufacturer, state, federally licensed, gun ban, lawyer, gun rights, gun laws, understand, bb guns, jersey, prohibitions, sell
Speaker 3, Evan Nappen, Robert, Detective Walker
Evan Nappen 00:00
Hi. I’m Evan Nappen, and welcome to Gun Lawyer. Did you know that New Jersey has the largest gun ban ever in United States history? That is correct. No exaggeration. This is absolute insanity, and I’m going to explain to you how. New Jersey passed what is called the “No Serial Number”, at least that’s how we’re referring to it, the “No Serial Number” gun ban. Now this “No Serial Number” gun ban was passed in a package with half a dozen or more bills by Murphy and the Democrats. All these anti-gun laws, and they targeted what they called “Ghost Guns”, ooooooh, “Ghost Guns”. Now, we know that all the Ghost Gun is is a homemade firearm, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. Americans have been making their own guns since before our country was even a country. But there’s this anti-gun propaganda push, came up with the scary pejorative term, “Ghost Gun”, and then pass every kind of law you can think of to go after this. They are often done with broad, huge strokes, swaths of guns being banned, and that’s exactly what happened here.
Evan Nappen 01:54
In this package, they went after homemade guns, making guns, manufacturing guns, 3d-printed guns, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) guns, 80 percenters. All that stuff banned, banned, banned. Serious, serious penalties. One of the other add-ons was the gun with no serial number, gun with no serial number. The problem is how they defined exactly what that gun is with no serial number. Because what New Jersey ended up doing was prohibiting the possession, the sale, the transport, the manufacturer, even the disposition, disposing of, can’t even get rid of a gun with no serial number. They defined this as two parts. For a firearm to be lawful in New Jersey, it must have these two elements. It must be imprinted with a serial number, and the serial number must be registered with a federally licensed manufacturer. So, it must be both of those things to be a lawful, not prohibited, no serial number gun in New Jersey.
Evan Nappen 02:33
The problem is that there is no grandfathering, no exceptions, no exclusions. Any gun that doesn’t meet these criteria became banned and is contraband to possess. If you possess such a gun, you’re looking at five years in State Prison as a maximum punishment. If you transport the firearm, if you manufacture such a firearm, if you sell such a firearm, or if you dispose of this firearm, it’s a second degree crime. You’re looking at up to 10 years in State Prison for doing that. The definition of “firearm” is quite broad in Jersey. It’s not what normally is associated with something being a firearm. New Jersey’s definition of Page – 2 – of 10
“firearm” includes BB guns and air guns. It includes black powder firearms. It includes basically all these “guns that shoot”, and it doesn’t have to be modern cartridge firearms.
Evan Nappen 04:56
For a firearm to be lawful in Jersey, it must be imprinted with a serial number and be registered with a federally licensed manufacturer. So, that serial number had to come from a federally licensed manufacturer, and here’s where the problems come in big time. First of all, there’s no exemption for pre-1968 rifles, shotguns, or handguns that don’t have serial numbers. Prior to 1968, there was no federal law that required serial numbers on firearms. Remember, the reason for a serial number originally was to be a theft deterrent, and so that you could identify your firearm by serial number to help curtail theft. That’s why the laws that existed were to stop defacing firearms. It’s where you remove a serial number that’s already been put on a gun. This was all about anti-theft. This was hijacked by the anti-gunners so that the use of a serial number would be for registration of guns and for eventual confiscation of guns. That’s how serial numbers are currently being used and abused.
Evan Nappen 06:27
So, here, we have a situation where the pre-68 what are called “NSN” (No Serial Number) guns are contraband in New Jersey. There are literally millions of these firearms that never had a serial number in the first place. They’re perfectly lawful, and they were even sold by major companies. Even FFLs, whenever they would encounter a gun, would write on their inventory tag NSN which meant No Serial Number. That was fine, but it’s not fine anymore in New Jersey. All those pre-68 guns with no serial numbers now fall under this egregious law, but it doesn’t end there. All modern, even post-68 rifles, shotguns, pistols, and revolvers with serial numbers, but not with a serial number that’s registered with a federally licensed manufacturer, the second leg of this definition. This means that uncountable numbers of foreign made firearms, military firearms, surplus firearms, imported rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, any of these guns that aren’t serialized by a federally licensed manufacturer from the United States, are now prohibited in New Jersey. Possession, transport, sale, manufacture and/or disposal. You can’t even get rid of it. Think of how many guns are encompassed by just that factor? How many Lugers, P-38s, Mausers, Arisakas, Enfields SKSs, Carcanos, Webleys, Norincos, Mosins, etc.? How many of them are in the United States and in New Jersey that now fall under this law? It’s uncountable how many. Even modern guns today that come from folks that are avid shooters of this particular brand or that particular brand. If it’s an imported gun and it’s not a federally licensed manufacturer, that gun is banned in Jersey. Think of how many models fit just that portion of this absurd law in New Jersey? But it doesn’t end there.
Evan Nappen 09:30
Because as I said, the definition of “firearm” includes BB guns, air guns, etc. Now, most BB guns don’t have serial numbers. If your BB gun has a serial number, well, it had to be registered with a federal licensed manufacturer. There is no requirement for a federal firearm manufacturing license required to make air guns in America. To make BB guns. So, that Daisy or that Crossman or that Gamo, those are not federally licensed firearm manufacturers. No. Federal law doesn’t count them as firearms. So, you don’t get licenses for that. Basically, every BB gun and air gun in New Jersey is prohibited under this insane law. Same with muzzleloading firearms and black powder firearms. All these repros of historic guns and those great Hawkins and hunting guns that we love of the good old days of black powder that Page – 3 – of 10
that there’s entire hunting seasons dedicated to you have any of those guns and they’re not a serial number. Even if they are serial numbered, they were not by a federally licensed manufacturer. There’s no federal manufacturing license required to make black powder firearms. So, unless the company that happened to make your black powder firearm is in fact a federally licensed manufacturer such as, maybe you have a Ruger old army black powder, okay. Lucky you because that has a serial number, and Ruger is a federally licensed manufacturer.
Evan Nappen 11:29
But if you have an imported Italian black powder revolver, of which there’s probably millions of, if you have one of those, oh, that’s no good in Jersey because it’s considered a “No Serial Number” gun. Just think about how many muzzleloaders are out there. CVA, did they make actual firearms? No, they made black powder firearms. Do they have to have a federal license? No, they didn’t. So, what about your CVA? Now, if you happen to have a Thompson Center, well, they were a federally licensed firearm manufacturer because they made cartridge firearms as well as their famous Hawking and other black powder rifles. So there, you would be covered, but not all these others. Think how many muzzleloaders and black powder guns are covered. Plus, antique firearms, bona fide antiques. Many of them are black powder. Many of them are obsolete makers that never had a federal license of any sort. They were in existence and went out of business prior to any type of federal licensing or manufacturing. All those antique guns are prohibited now as “No Serial Number” firearms because there’s no distinction. They are firearms under New Jersey law.
Evan Nappen 12:54
So, this law, this absurd law, is turning uncountable numbers of New Jersey citizens, honest law-abiding citizens into potential felons. Facing New Jersey’s typical draconian and outrageous penalties for technical violations of the law, as New Jersey is famous for. Think about how many guns here are covered. It is the largest gun ban that I am aware of in United States history if you think of how many guns come under this law. As we speak, this law is on the books. If you want to read the actual law, I’ll give you the statute. It’s N.J.S. 2C:39-3 subsection n. That’s on the possession prohibitions. N.J.S. 2C:39-9 k., which are the other prohibitions that are at a second- degree level, even more severe. You can see in the 39-9 law, that’s where you’ll also find all the other “Ghosts Gun” prohibitions and 3d printer and all that kind of stuff, all thrown in there.
Evan Nappen 14:30
This is what our ignorant legislators do. And if I call them ignorant, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here that this was done out of their sheer ignorance. I’m not positive of that by the way. This could very well be absolutely intentional as a way to backdoor and get in this massive gun ban. So, they can confiscate and turn law-abiding citizens into criminals and disenfranchise them of their Second Amendment rights. This is what Jersey does all the time. Why should this be different? This is a very, very serious problem. You can read the law yourself, and you can go to my website, EvanNappen.com. I have an article there where I explain all this in detail, right on my website. If you want to know more about “No Serial Number” guns and really get an understanding of it, I’ll shamelessly plug my new book, New Jersey Gun Law, the 25th Anniversary Edition. Get the 25th Anniversary Edition, and I have a whole chapter explaining what I’m telling you here. These are the kinds of traps that are out there for New Jersey citizens. But it doesn’t end there. Page – 4 – of 10
Evan Nappen 15:51
Because even when citizens try to find out what the law is and they go to the authorities, the authorities themselves don’t even know what they’re talking about, unfortunately. I’m going to give you an example of this very thing because this is also part of the problem. When we come back, you’ll hear a conversation from a listener who recorded their conversation with the New Jersey State Police. I think you’ll find it pretty fascinating. See in a few.
Speaker 3 16:25
For over 30 years, Attorney Evan Nappen has seen what rotten laws do to good people. That’s why he’s dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of America’s gun owners. A fearsome courtroom litigator fighting for rights, justice, and freedom. An unrelenting gun rights spokesman tearing away at anti-gun propaganda to expose the truth. Author of six bestselling books on gun rights, including Nappen on Gun Law, a bright orange gun law Bible that sits atop the desk of virtually every lawyer, police chief, firearms dealer, and savvy gun owner. That’s what made Evan Nappen America’s Gun Lawyer. Gun laws are designed to make you a criminal. Don’t become the innocent victim of a vicious anti-gun legal system. This is the guy you want on your side. Keep his name and number in your wallet and hope you never have to use it. But if you live, work, or travel with a firearm, that deck is already stacked against you. You can find him on the web at EvanNappen.com or follow the link on the Gun Lawyer resource page. Evan Nappen – America’s Gun Lawyer.
Speaker 3 17:39
You’re listening to Gun Lawyer with Attorney Evan Nappen. Available wherever you get your favorite podcast.
Evan Nappen 17:46
Hey, welcome back to Gun Lawyer. This is Evan Nappen. I love my listeners, and I so appreciate that you folks are out there. What I am going to play for you very shortly comes from a dedicated listener. We’re all in this together, and we have to protect each other. This is really the voice, and I really feel privileged to be able to talk to all of you and let your friends know. I’m very happy with the sponsors of my show, and I greatly appreciate them. As many of you know, we have the State Association, the Association New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs. They are the number one gun rights organization in New Jersey. They are the NRA affiliate, officially in New Jersey, and they have a full-time paid lobbyist in Trenton fighting all these outrageous laws. They are in the courts, litigating, doing excellent work litigating on these very issues. Based on my conversations with folks, action is going to be taken on this very topic. They’re not ignoring this, and you can see all the battles that we have to fight. You need to be a part of the solution. You need to be a part of the Association, your state association. You see the Association of Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs is an umbrella organization of all the gun clubs in New Jersey. So, they unite in one united place under the banner of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, and you can become a member, an individual member. That way you are doing your part, and you’re going to get alerts about these changes, these threats, and be kept on top of what’s going on in Trenton and the litigation. Plus, you get the finest gun rights newsletter in New Jersey. That’ll be sent right to your door. So, make sure you join the state Association. Check them out at anjrpc.org. Join and be a proud member of the state Association. Page – 5 – of 10
Evan Nappen 20:07
Our other sponsor who I’m just as proud to have on board is WeShoot. WeShoot is a premier gun range. They are an indoor gun range in Lakewood, which is a fantastic location for a gun range, right there easy access from Ocean County, Monmouth County, etc. It’s an excellent facility, really state of the art. WeShoot. I have really become friendly with these folks, and I love their operation. And you know, they’re really more than just a company. They’re more than just a business looking to make money. They are dedicated to our cause, which is one of the reasons they are a sponsor of this show. They believe in what you believe in, what I believe in, and what we are all fighting for. It’s a community there really, and they have built this community around certain principles like responsible gun ownership. They have extremely friendly, five-star customer service. They provide an amazing and safe shooting experience for everyone. If you’re a supporter of Second Amendment rights, and I know you must be if you’re listening to this, there, that’s the place to go.
Evan Nappen 21:26
At the heart of WeShoot, of course, is their team. I’ve had the pleasure to meet and know all these great folks. They’re super friendly and knowledgeable. Today, as we’ve been talking about different team members, I want to talk about one of their great core team members, Daytime Manager, Bill Bradshaw. Now Bill is a seasoned expert with a career spanning 15 years in the firearms industry. He is just obsessed with providing great customer service. He has a wealth of knowledge, a passion for teaching, and a warm personality. He’s really a standout figure at WeShoot. By the way, Bill is a USCCA certified firearms instructor and an NRA certified pistol instructor. He offers private 2-hour and 1-hour lessons, and he’s able to get you ready for the NJ CCW, that NJ Permit To Carry class, that you need. So, look, folks, go to WeShoot. They have a vast selection of firearms there. You can enjoy their 12-port indoor range and get to say hello to Bill. At WeShoot, you are not just a customer. You’re part of the WeShoot family.
Evan Nappen 22:46
WeShoot is offering this Sunday, May 28, they are offering all retired and active members of the U.S. Armed Forces a FREE Range Pass and one FREE gun rental. So, look, if you’re saying to yourself, hey, it’s Sunday, what should I do? It’s Memorial Day weekend here on Sunday, May 28. If you’re thinking what’s a good thing to do? Well, if you’re retired or active military, you can go to WeShoot and get a Free Range Pass and one Free gun rental. It doesn’t get any better than that. So, check out WeShoot at weshootusa.com. They have a beautiful website, and you can be part of the WeShoot community.
Evan Nappen 23:41
So, one of my listeners here who’s really an advocate as well, given the dedication that he has and sharing what he’s willing to share. He wrote a letter. His name is Robert, and he wrote a letter. We’ve actually talked about Robert before here on this very issue. But he sent a letter to the Attorney General back in March (2023), wanting to know about what to do about his pre-1968 “No Serial Number” firearm. What he had was a 12-gauge shotgun that was purchased in 1956 by his father, right after his father’s 18th birthday. This firearm was manufactured pre-68, and it wasn’t required to have a serial number on it. Now the problem is, what should he do? He has this gun. It’s a pre-68. The idiotic “No Page – 6 – of 10
Serial Number” gun law has no exemption for pre-68. Here’s a fun family heirloom passed down from father to son.
Evan Nappen 25:03
He writes to the Attorney General wanting to know what he should do. He has proof of the purchase, my friends, from Sears and Roebuck on October 10, 1956. The original receipt for this gun. It was $48.88 and 33 cents for shipping. Do you believe it? In 1956. He even has photos of his dad with the shotgun. Now New Jersey is turning him into a potential felon, and it is outrageous. So, he wanted to know, what can he do about this heirloom? Because is the law really this absurd? This stupid? I’m going to tell you right now. Yes, the law is this absurd and this stupid. Here’s the problem. He ended up going down the chain of the Attorney General turning it down, down, down. Finally, it ends up at Firearms Division in the State Police.
Evan Nappen 26:11
The fellow that he speaks to there is trying to advise him. Now let me just be honest. This fellow is trying to be, this state trooper, this detective, is trying to be a good guy. I get that. The State Police always try to be of assistance. They try to do their best. I understand that, and I appreciate that they do that. But unfortunately, what was being told him was not correct. Just a few moments ago, I explained to you what this law says, how it works, and what’s prohibited. But why don’t you take a listen to the advice that was given by the New Jersey State Police to Bobby with regard to his situation? I think you’ll find that this is, unfortunately, something that is systemically wrong with New Jersey’s gun laws. Because even those that are in charge of trying to fairly administer these laws, don’t understand these laws. The legislators that pass them, giving them the benefit of the doubt, don’t understand what they’re passing. They don’t want to listen to the gun folks like you and me that do understand it. They just want to do their thing and jam it down our throats. And this is where we end up.
Evan Nappen 27:37
So, take a listen to this conversation and you see what you think. Mr. Producer, could you play the clip, please?
Detective Walker 27:46
Hey, Rob, this is Detective Walker from the State Police firearms unit.
Hey, thanks. I appreciate your getting back to me, Detective.
Detective Walker 27:52
No problem. I’m just calling in reference to the letter you sent to the Office of Attorney General in regard to your, what is it, a shotgun?
Robert 28:02 Page – 7 – of 10
Yeah, it’s a shotgun that my father bought in 1956. No serial number.
Detective Walker 28:07
Yeah. So, um, a lot of them, a lot of those firearms that were manufactured back then don’t have serial numbers.
Detective Walker 28:19
So, like, what, uh, where would you be like using this? Like, like shooting clays and stuff or, like, bring it to the range?
Exactly. Shooting clays primarily.
Detective Walker 28:27
As long as, um, as long as you’re transporting it properly, you’re not gonna have any issues with something like that. That, the statute that you’re like referring to, is like, that’s for, I’m trying to read through it here, is where I read before. You’re doing it like intentionally. Like, you’re not, you can’t put a serial number on that gun, you know.
Detective Walker 28:49
So, you know, if you were to get pulled over, you know, you’re not gonna obviously have it in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. You’re going to have it
Detective Walker 28:57
enclosed, yeah, in a case, you know, or ammunition separate and all that. So, yeah. I understand, like your concern, because, yeah, like, it’s a first degree crime. That being a first degree crime, it’s like, for knowingly doing it. You’re doing it because you’re planning on selling it, or, you know, using it somewhere else, or, you know, something like that.
Of course not.
Okay, so I was just concerned because it said that it’s not permissible to transport it, sell it, destroy it, or ship it. And I’d certainly be transporting it. So, you’re saying that that’s not a violation of the law?
Detective Walker 29:32
No. Page – 8 – of 10
Detective Walker 29:33
Do you have a, do you have a Firearms ID Card?
Yes, I do.
Detective Walker 29:35
Okay. Yeah, you’re fine then. You inherited it. So, yeah, you’re, it’s actually technically doesn’t even have to be registered. It uh
Detective Walker 29:42
Okay, perfect. Yeah, you covered all your bases then. Um, yeah, as long as you were transport it correctly. And all that information, if you would like me to send it to you, I can send it to you.
No, I have a Certificate of Eligibility. I actually didn’t inherit. My mother inherited it, and she transferred it to me through a Certificate of Eligibility.
That’d be awesome. Yeah. It’s good to have something in writing that says, hey, here’s what I’m relying on.
Detective Walker 30:05
Absolutely. But yeah, if you, if you’re just taking it to the range or to a spot where you’re shooting clays and stuff, like you have nothing to worry about.
Detective Walker 30:05
There’s, yeah, you’re not using it, you’re not doing it using it for anything malicious. You’re not trying to sell it or anything like that. Basically, you know, you can sell it, but you know, obviously, you go through a FFL for that.
Detective Walker 30:24
Yeah. FFL. Exactly. Yeah. So, yeah, I understand where you’re concerned. Especially, you know, you said there you’ll do first degree crime. But, yeah, Page – 9 – of 10
That’s pretty serious, you know?
Detective Walker 30:33
Oh, it’s, it’s really serious.
Even 18 months is a long time. I don’t want to certainly don’t want to get 15 to 20 years. But
Detective Walker 30:39
Absolutely, yeah. But uh, yeah, like I know, it said here, you use it for shooting both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Detective Walker 30:47
Just, just make sure like, if you’re going into PA, you’re abiding by their their laws. Obviously, we don’t, we don’t deal with their laws.
Detective Walker 30:54
Yeah, I’ll send you over that, that little tidbit from our FAQ, about uh, about transport and like, long arms, and you should be good to go.
Okay. Detective, I appreciate your help. Thank you so much.
Detective Walker 31:07
Yeah, no problem, sir. Anytime.
Detective Walker 31:09
You have a good one.
Evan Nappen 31:13
So, there you see. I mean, the Detective is trying to be a good guy. He’s trying to use common sense, obviously, and being rational. But unfortunately, he doesn’t get the law right, and there is a prohibition on possession as well. Even possession, under 39-3n. Additionally, it is even understood by him that Page – 10 – of 10
there are plenty of these guns out there with no serial numbers. So, they recognize that these guns are out there. But it’s not exempted in any way. Even if you transport pursuant to the exemptions for transport, if you transport pursuant to what are on the State Police FAQ guidelines, they do not exempt you for guns that fall under the “No Serial Number” gun ban. It actually isn’t covered at all. Whether or not there’s intentional possession, intentional serializing of unserialized, or any of that, none of that is really of any moment in terms of the simple two-part definition that is met by all these pre-68 guns. So, this offense isn’t based upon whether one has malicious intent or not.
Evan Nappen 32:58
Now, I understand that this Trooper would be a reasonable guy, this detective, and he is using common sense. Like he says, he is trying to do the right thing, and I appreciate it. But this really shows you the problem. New Jersey gun laws are not only not understood by citizens, they are not even understood by those that are supposed to be advising citizens so they can understand it. And again, I don’t blame them. Because these laws are so absurd and so ridiculous. They create a trap. Then at some point, some law-abiding citizen ends up becoming that test case. They end up becoming the one prosecuted by some zealous prosecutor, despite the best intentions by the State Police to give guidance, or by the law-abiding citizen trying to do the right thing. Because the laws themselves are terrible. They are unjust, and they are written in a fashion that it becomes an impossibility to abide by them, even though we as law-abiding citizens would do our best to abide by them.
Evan Nappen 34:20
Laws like this make it an impossibility to do so. With this law, you cannot possess a gun, and you can’t dispose of the gun. You can’t transport it, and you can’t sell it. Even if you were to “voluntarily surrender” the gun, where there is a provision that allows for so-called voluntary surrender, it has to go to the police station. How do you get it there without transporting it? And that’s what you’re required to do. But they don’t exempt you or give you immunity even for that. So, this is ridiculous in New Jersey. And by the way, the forfeiture willy nilly of family heirlooms, even if that’s a solution, it’s an outrage. Because this man’s shotgun, purchased by his dad in 1956, that he treasures as part of his inheritance, part of his family tradition, is now turned into contraband by these ignorant, stupid gun laws.
Evan Nappen 35:37
We’ve got to fight them. You’ve got to stay vigilant, and you’ve got to be weary. You’ve got to know what you’re dealing with in New Jersey. Make sure you do. This is the mission of Gun Lawyer. As we make advances here, we’re going to let you know. If things can change or if we get any kind of new information about how this is going to be treated. But until then, this is Evan Nappen reminding you that gun laws don’t protect honest citizens from criminals. They protect criminals from honest citizens.
Speaker 3 36:21
Gun Lawyer is a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast was managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York. Reach us by emailing Evan@gun.lawyer. The information and opinions in this broadcast do not constitute legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney in your state.