Imitation Firearms

NJ Imitation Firearms Lawyer

NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Represents Clients Charged with Unlawful Possession of BB Gun or Paintball Gun

Many people think of BB guns, pellet guns, paintball guns, and other imitation firearms as “toys” to be used during various outdoor activities. However, the NJ criminal code classifies these items as “weapons.” A good NJ imitation firearms lawyer will tell you that New Jersey state law makes it illegal to possess many types of imitation firearms without a valid permit or license. This can cause all kinds of legal problems for individuals who unknowingly violate NJ gun crime laws by purchasing an imitation handgun in New York, Pennsylvania, or another state and then returning to New Jersey. That’s because NJ has incredibly strict handgun laws, and these laws are just as strict when it comes to the regulation of imitation or replica firearms. A charge for illegal possession of a BB gun in New Jersey can actually land you in prison. If you have been charged with an imitation firearms offense, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with the NJ criminal code and who understands the intricacies and nuances of the state’s handgun laws.

NJ criminal defense attorney Frank T. Luciano represents clients charged with imitation handgun offenses in Hackensack, Paramus, Fort Lee, and throughout New Jersey. Contact Mr. Luciano today to explore your legal options.

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 – Unlawful Possession of an Imitation Firearm in New Jersey

Under New Jersey Law, many imitation firearms like pellet guns and BB guns are subject to the same rules and regulations as handguns and related weapons. For instance, certain imitation handguns must be registered with the state and the owner must obtain a firearms ID card. These weapons are covered by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 of the NJ criminal code, which applies to the unlawful possession of weapons.

The law sets forth slightly different rules for various types of imitation firearms:

  • BB Guns: BB guns, BB rifles, and pellet rifles are considered “firearms” under NJ gun laws, which means that violations of the relevant statute can result in the offender being charged with a criminal offense. In New Jersey, gun crimes are punishable by prison time.
  • Airsoft Guns: These types of imitation firearms are also considered “firearms” under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, which means that violators can be charged with a criminal weapons offense. Anyone in New Jersey who wishes to obtain, carry, or transport an Airsoft gun, air gun pistol, or any other gun capable of shooting projectiles must first obtain a valid permit.
  • Paintball Guns: Paintball guns are not considered “firearms” under New Jersey criminal statutes. However, a paintball gun can still be deemed a “deadly weapon” because it is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury. If a paintball gun is used for illegal purposes, the offender can be charged with a crime and face jail time.

Keep in mind that even if you have a valid carry permit for your imitation firearm, you may not be legally allowed to carry the weapon in particular public places. For instance, educational institutions such as universities, colleges, and high schools may prohibit anyone from bringing these types of imitation handguns onto school grounds. This can include the school itself, the property surrounding the school, or a school bus. A person who violates subsection (e) of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, which specifically addresses firearms and other weapons in educational institutions, can be charged with a third degree crime (i.e., felony). Moreover, this is a strict liability offense, which means that the defendant is in violation of the law regardless of his or her intent or the reason for bringing the imitation firearm onto school grounds in the first place.

Prison Time and Other Penalties for Imitation Firearm Violations in Hackensack, New Jersey

The penalties for illegally possessing an imitation firearm are slightly different for particular types of weapons. Unlawful possession of a BB gun or Airsoft gun is a third degree crime and is punishable by a sentence of 3-5 years in NJ state prison, while unlawful possession of a paintball gun is a fourth degree crime and is punishable by a sentence of up to 18 months in NJ state prison.

Regardless of the type of imitation firearm, a person found to be illegally possessing an imitation firearm with the purpose to use it unlawfully against another person or property may face additional penalties. Beyond that, the New Jersey Graves Act and/or the No Early Release Act (NERA) can apply to imitation firearms charges in some circumstances, such as when the offender used the imitation firearm during the commission of a violent crime. This means that offenders could potentially face mandatory prison terms with no parole eligibility if convicted.

Related Charge: Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in Elmwood Park, NJ

It is often the case that a person charged with illegally possessing an imitation firearm also faces additional charges for possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4, a person who possesses an imitation handgun and intends to use the weapon for any manifestly unlawful reason can be charged with a crime (i.e., felony) punishable by up to 18 months in New Jersey state prison. This would be in addition to any charges stemming from the actual criminal act, such as armed robbery for using a toy handgun to rob a bank or aggravated assault for using a BB gun to injure someone.

While it might seem unfair that a person could face criminal charges for using a toy or replica weapon, as opposed to an actual handgun, the key element under the criminal statute is intent. If the defendant intended for the imitation firearm to be mistaken for an actual firearm, or if a reasonable person would have perceived the imitation weapon as an actual handgun, then charges for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose could apply.

Fight Your Imitation Handgun Possession Charges in Paramus, NJ

Although New Jersey is known for strictly regulating handguns, assault weapons, shotguns, machine guns, rifles, and other deadly firearms, it is also true that the state comes down very hard on people who illegally possess toy or replica firearms. If you have been charged with unlawful possession of an imitation firearm in Bergen County, Passaic County, Hudson County, or any other county in New Jersey, it is extremely important that you have an experienced attorney on your side throughout the legal process. Without a qualified criminal defense attorney advising you about your best options, negotiating with the prosecutor to secure a favorable outcome, and contesting the charges in court, you could find yourself looking at a lengthy prison sentence.

New Jersey criminal defense attorney Frank T. Luciano has a proven track record in imitation firearms cases, with an established reputation for winning in court. As a longtime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he also possesses the institutional knowledge needed to persuasively argue on your behalf before trial and to challenge the evidence in your case. To get a good sense of what Mr. Luciano’s past clients think of him, visit the Client Testimonials section on this website.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Mahwah Imitation Handgun Attorney Frank T. Luciano

Frank T. Luciano is an accomplished NJ criminal defense lawyer who has spent decades fighting on behalf of individuals facing gun crime charges in New Jersey courtrooms. Let Mr. Luciano help you with your imitation firearm case. Contact him today by phone or email.