Unlawful Disposition of a Firearm

NJ Unlawful Disposition of a Firearm Lawyer

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Helps Clients Fight Charges for Illegal Disposition of Guns or Bullets

Many people don’t realize that NJ gun laws place restrictions on the manner in which a person can dispose of a firearm like a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Those individuals who don’t know the law in New Jersey, and who then mistakenly violate the law, can find themselves facing criminal weapons charges and significant prison time. When this happens, it is crucial that you speak with a competent NJ unlawful disposition of a firearm lawyer as soon as possible. Although you may not have realized it, and you may even have thought that you were doing the right thing by selling your firearm, the unfortunate reality is that New Jersey imposes harsh penalties against anyone who transfers or otherwise disposes of a firearm without a license to do so.

NJ criminal defense attorney Frank T. Luciano has decades of experience representing clients in gun crime cases throughout New Jersey, including Hackensack, Paramus, and Elmwood Park. Contact Mr. Luciano now to schedule a free initial consultation about your unlawful disposition of a handgun case.

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9 – Criminal Charges for Unlawful Disposition of a Firearm in New Jersey

What exactly is “unlawful disposition of a firearm”? NJ gun laws dictate the manner and way in which a person can dispose of a firearm within state borders. Moreover, the laws go beyond controlling the disposal of a handgun, a rifle, ammunition, or some other gun-related item to also address the sale and transport of these weapons. The statute specifically prohibits individuals from “manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, transporting, shipping, selling, or disposing of certain weapons without a valid license for doing so.”

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9 is the criminal statute that makes it illegal for an individual to unlawfully sell, transport, or dispose of a firearm in the State of New Jersey. In addition to strictly regulating the sale, transfer, and disposition of firearms, the statute also governs the illegal manufacture of firearms and the defacement of handguns. The idea behind the law is that it is necessary for the state to discourage the sale of illegal weapons in order to protect public health and safety. By mandating that sales of firearms and related items such as bullets be made only by those individuals and businesses that have received a state-issued license, NJ authorities are able to keep track of handguns and ensure that no illegal handguns circulate within New Jersey.

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9 Makes It Illegal to Sell Knives and Other Weapons in New Jersey Without a License

The prohibited firearms mentioned in the different subsections of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9 include handguns, assault firearms, machine guns, and sawed-off shotguns, as well as illegal armor-piercing bullets and firearms silencers. Beyond that, the statute also mentions “other weapons” such as stun guns, switchblade knives, metal knuckles, and even slingshots. This additional subsection of the gun law gives New Jersey prosecutors wide latitude to go after individuals who sell, transport, or dispose of just about any object or item that could potentially be considered a “weapon.” In most cases, the intent for which the weapon might be used is the determining factor for law enforcement: a weapon intended to be used in a violent crime, for instance, is probably more likely to trigger charges for unlawful disposition of a weapon.

Since the statute stipulates that an individual must have a proper license to manufacture, ship, transport, or sell one of these “other weapons,” the best way for an individual to protect themselves against criminal charges is to secure a sales license. However, it is not always possible to obtain a license prior to transporting one of these weapons. Additionally, many people do not realize that they might be committing a crime by selling an antique knife or some other item that they inherited.

Severe Penalties for Unlawfully Selling or Transporting Handguns in NJ

The penalties for illegally disposing of a firearm in New Jersey vary, depending on the type of transfer and the type of weapon in question. However, it is important for NJ gun owners to understand that the charges set forth in the NJ unlawful disposition of a firearm statute are usually classified as crimes (i.e., felonies).

These are the criminal charges and penalties that violators of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9 may face:

  • Second Degree Charges: A person who transports a firearm into the State of New Jersey for the purpose of an illegal sale or transfer is committing a second degree crime. This is punishable by a sentence of 5-10 years in NJ state prison.
  • Third Degree Charges: A gun owner can be charged with a third degree crime if they transport, manufacture, ship, sale, or dispose of an assault firearm, a machine gun, a sawed-off shotgun, or a defaced firearm. It is also a third degree crime for an unlicensed individual to use a three-dimensional printer to manufacture a firearm. If convicted, an offender can be sentenced to 3-5 years in NJ state prison.
  • Fourth Degree Charges: It is a fourth degree crime if a person unlawfully manufactures, sells, transports, ships, or disposes of a stun gun, a firearm silencer, a large capacity ammunition magazine intended for use by military or law enforcement, or “analogue weapons” such as knives, daggers, stilettos, blackjacks, slingshots, and brass knuckles. A conviction on these charges can result in a sentence of up to 18 months in NJ state prison.

For a second degree or third degree criminal charge in connection with the unlawful disposition of a firearm and/or the illegal sale or transfer of a firearm in New Jersey, the defendant is also subject to the NJ Graves Act. That’s because gun crimes involving assault weapons, machine guns, and sawed-off shotguns are considered particularly dangerous to public health and safety. This means that, if convicted of unlawful disposition of a weapon in New Jersey, the defendant could face a minimum mandatory term of incarceration, as well as parole ineligibility. Moreover, prosecutors have far less discretion than they would otherwise have in these types of cases because the Graves Act does not always allow for plea deals before trial.

Contesting a Charge for Unlawful Disposition of a Firearm in Hackensack, NJ

There are defenses available to a person who has been accused of unlawful disposition of a firearm in New Jersey. Depending on the circumstances of your weapons offense case, it may be possible for a knowledgeable attorney to help you fight your criminal charges and possibly get the charges dismissed. A few of the situations in which the disposition of a firearm is allowable under the criminal statute include:

  • The temporary transfer of a firearm while hunting or target shooting.
  • The temporary transfer of a firearm for shooting competitions sponsored by a licensed FFL gun dealer, law enforcement agency, military organization, or state-certified rifle or pistol club.
  • The temporary transfer of a firearm for participation in a training course conducted by a certified instructor.
  • The transfer of an antique firearm or antique handgun.

NJ criminal defense lawyer Frank T. Luciano is prepared to help you beat your charges for unlawful disposition of a firearm. As a longtime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as other legal organizations and committees in New Jersey, Mr. Luciano has established himself as a leading voice in the NJ legal community. When handling your illegal firearms disposition case, he will aggressively defend you during the pre-trial stage, at all hearings, and at trial, if necessary. Visit the Testimonials section on this website to read what Mr. Luciano’s past clients have had to say about him.

Contact Elmwood Park Gun Crimes Attorney Frank T. Luciano About Your Unlawful Disposition of a Firearm Charges

Mr. Luciano is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has represented clients in countless weapons offense cases throughout New Jersey, including Bergen County, Passaic County, and Hudson County. Call or email Mr. Luciano now to schedule a free consultation about your case.

Our Client Testimonials

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From a former client with a First Degree Distribution Charge

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From a former client charged with a serious weapons offense

"At the time, I was mortified because, having only worked against you in the Prosecutor’s Office, I couldn’t picture being on the same side. Frank, I want to thank you for the pleasure of having worked with you over the past years. I have learned a great deal from you. Most importantly, I learned that cases were not always as black and white as I thought they were when I worked for the Prosecutor’s Office. You are a wonderful attorney who not only works hard, but also cares deeply about his clients. Frank, I think you are the best."


From a former investigator of a county prosecutor’s office and retired private investigator

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