2022 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice
Section 2C:39-1 - Definitions.

Universal Citation: NJ Rev Stat § 2C:39-1 (2022)

2C:39-1 Definitions.

2C:39-1. Definitions. The following definitions apply to this chapter and to chapter 58:

a. "Antique firearm" means any rifle or shotgun and "antique cannon" means a destructive device defined in paragraph (3) of subsection c. of this section, if the rifle, shotgun or destructive device, or replica thereof, as the case may be, is incapable of being fired or discharged, or which does not fire fixed ammunition, regardless of date of manufacture, or was manufactured before 1898 for which cartridge ammunition is not commercially available, and is possessed as a curiosity or ornament or for its historical significance or value.

b. "Deface" means to remove, deface, cover, alter or destroy the name of the maker, model designation, manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing identification mark or number on any firearm.

c. "Destructive device" means any device, instrument or object designed to explode or produce uncontrolled combustion, including:

(1) any explosive or incendiary bomb, mine or grenade;

(2) any rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces or any missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter of an ounce;

(3) any weapon capable of firing a projectile of a caliber greater than 60 caliber, except a shotgun or shotgun ammunition generally recognized as suitable for sporting purposes;

(4) any Molotov cocktail or other device consisting of a breakable container containing flammable liquid and having a wick or similar device capable of being ignited. The term shall not include any device manufactured for the purpose of illumination, distress signaling, line-throwing, safety or similar purposes; or

(5) any center-fire rifle that is capable of firing a .50 BMG cartridge as defined in subsection mm. of this section.

The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any antique firearm as defined in subsection a. of this section or any "curio or relic" as defined in 27 CFR 478.11.

The provisions of this paragraph also shall not apply to a weapon solely used to fire blank ammunition for the purpose of a living historical reenactment as defined in subsection nn. of this section.

d. "Dispose of" means to give, give away, lease, loan, keep for sale, offer, offer for sale, sell, transfer, or otherwise transfer possession.

e. "Explosive" means any chemical compound or mixture that is commonly used or is possessed for the purpose of producing an explosion and which contains any oxidizing and combustible materials or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion or by detonation of any part of the compound or mixture may cause such a sudden generation of highly heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on contiguous objects. The term shall not include small arms ammunition, or explosives in the form prescribed by the official United States Pharmacopoeia.

f. "Firearm" means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances. It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.

g. "Firearm silencer" means any instrument, attachment, weapon or appliance for causing the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm.

h. "Gravity knife" means any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force.

i. "Machine gun" means any firearm, mechanism or instrument not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot and having a reservoir, belt or other means of storing and carrying ammunition which can be loaded into the firearm, mechanism or instrument and fired therefrom. A machine gun also shall include, without limitation, any firearm with a trigger crank attached.

j. "Manufacturer" means any person who receives or obtains raw materials or parts and processes them into firearms or finished parts of firearms, except a person who exclusively processes grips, stocks and other nonmetal parts of firearms. The term does not include a person who repairs existing firearms or receives new and used raw materials or parts solely for the repair of existing firearms.

k. "Handgun" means any pistol, revolver or other firearm originally designed or manufactured to be fired by the use of a single hand.

l. "Retail dealer" means any person including a gunsmith, except a manufacturer or a wholesale dealer, who sells, transfers or assigns for a fee or profit any firearm or parts of firearms or ammunition which he has purchased or obtained with the intention, or for the purpose, of reselling or reassigning to persons who are reasonably understood to be the ultimate consumers, and includes any person who is engaged in the business of repairing firearms or who sells any firearm to satisfy a debt secured by the pledge of a firearm.

m. "Rifle" means any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.

n. "Shotgun" means any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shots or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, or any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder which does not fire fixed ammunition.

o. "Sawed-off shotgun" means any shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length measured from the breech to the muzzle, or a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length measured from the breech to the muzzle, or any firearm made from a rifle or a shotgun, whether by alteration, or otherwise, if such firearm as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches.

p. "Switchblade knife" means any knife or similar device which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.

q. "Superintendent" means the Superintendent of the State Police.

r. "Weapon" means anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury. The term includes, but is not limited to, all (1) firearms, even though not loaded or lacking a clip or other component to render them immediately operable; (2) components which can be readily assembled into a weapon; (3) gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, or other dangerous knives, billies, blackjacks, bludgeons, metal knuckles, sandclubs, slingshots, cesti or similar leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood; and (4) stun guns; and any weapon or other device which projects, releases, or emits tear gas or any other substance intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air.

s. "Wholesale dealer" means any person, except a manufacturer, who sells, transfers, or assigns firearms, or parts of firearms, to persons who are reasonably understood not to be the ultimate consumers, and includes persons who receive finished parts of firearms and assemble them into completed or partially completed firearms, in furtherance of such purpose, except that it shall not include those persons dealing exclusively in grips, stocks and other nonmetal parts of firearms.

t. "Stun gun" means any weapon or other device which emits an electrical charge or current intended to temporarily or permanently disable a person.

u. "Ballistic knife" means any weapon or other device capable of lethal use and which can propel a knife blade.

v. "Imitation firearm" means an object or device reasonably capable of being mistaken for a firearm.

w. "Assault firearm" means:

(1) The following firearms:

Algimec AGM1 type

Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder such as the "Street Sweeper" or "Striker 12"

Armalite AR-180 type

Australian Automatic Arms SAR

Avtomat Kalashnikov type semi-automatic firearms

Beretta AR-70 and BM59 semi-automatic firearms

Bushmaster Assault Rifle

Calico M-900 Assault carbine and M-900


Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88 type

Colt AR-15 and CAR-15 series

Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1 and Max 2, AR 100 types

Demro TAC-1 carbine type

Encom MP-9 and MP-45 carbine types

FAMAS MAS223 types

FN-FAL, FN-LAR, or FN-FNC type semi-automatic firearms

Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12 shotguns

G3SA type

Galil type Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, MP5, PSG-1

Intratec TEC 9 and 22 semi-automatic firearms

M1 carbine type

M14S type

MAC 10, MAC 11, MAC 11-9mm carbine type firearms

PJK M-68 carbine type

Plainfield Machine Company Carbine

Ruger K-Mini-14/5F and Mini-14/5RF

SIG AMT, SIG 550SP, SIG 551SP, SIG PE-57 types

SKS with detachable magazine type

Spectre Auto carbine type

Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48 type

Sterling MK-6, MK-7 and SAR types

Steyr A.U.G. semi-automatic firearms

USAS 12 semi-automatic type shotgun

Uzi type semi-automatic firearms

Valmet M62, M71S, M76, or M78 type semi-automatic firearms

Weaver Arm Nighthawk.

(2) Any firearm manufactured under any designation which is substantially identical to any of the firearms listed above.

(3) A semi-automatic shotgun with either a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a pistol grip, or a folding stock.

(4) A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds. "Assault firearm" shall not include a semi-automatic rifle which has an attached tubular device and which is capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

(5) A part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault firearm, or any combination of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.

(6) A firearm with a bump stock attached.

x. "Semi-automatic" means a firearm which fires a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger and is self-reloading or automatically chambers a round, cartridge, or bullet.

y. "Large capacity ammunition magazine" means a box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly therefrom into a semi-automatic firearm. The term shall not include an attached tubular device which is capable of holding only .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

z. "Pistol grip" means a well-defined handle, similar to that found on a handgun, that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, and which permits the shotgun to be held and fired with one hand.

aa. "Antique handgun" means a handgun manufactured before 1898, or a replica thereof, which is recognized as being historical in nature or of historical significance and either (1) utilizes a match, friction, flint, or percussion ignition, or which utilizes a pin-fire cartridge in which the pin is part of the cartridge or (2) does not fire fixed ammunition or for which cartridge ammunition is not commercially available.

bb. "Trigger lock" means a commercially available device approved by the Superintendent of State Police which is operated with a key or combination lock that prevents a firearm from being discharged while the device is attached to the firearm. It may include, but need not be limited to, devices that obstruct the barrel or cylinder of the firearm, as well as devices that immobilize the trigger.

cc. "Trigger locking device" means a device that, if installed on a firearm and secured by means of a key or mechanically, electronically or electromechanically operated combination lock, prevents the firearm from being discharged without first deactivating or removing the device by means of a key or mechanically, electronically or electromechanically operated combination lock.

dd. "Personalized handgun" means a handgun which incorporates within its design a permanent programmable feature as part of its manufacture that cannot be deactivated and renders the personalized handgun reasonably resistant to being fired except when activated by the lawful owner or other authorized user. No make or model of a handgun shall be deemed to be a "personalized handgun" unless the Personalized Handgun Authorization Commission established pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2019, c.164 (C.2C:58-2.7) has determined, in accordance with section 2 of P.L.2019, c.164 (C.2C:58-2.8), that the personalized handgun meets the performance standards and qualifying criteria established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2019, c.164 (C.2C:58-2.8).

ee. "Bump stock" means any device or instrument for a firearm that increases the rate of fire achievable with the firearm by using energy from the recoil of the firearm to generate a reciprocating action that facilitates repeated activation of the trigger.

ff. "Trigger crank" means any device or instrument to be attached to a firearm that repeatedly activates the trigger of the firearm through the use of a lever or other part that is turned in a circular motion; provided, however, the term shall not include any weapon initially designed and manufactured to fire through the use of a crank or lever.

gg. "Armor piercing ammunition" means: (1) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and is constructed entirely, excluding the presence of traces of other substances, from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (2) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile. "Armor piercing ammunition" shall not include shotgun shot required by federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the United States Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the United States Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil gas well perforating device.

hh. "Covert firearm" means any firearm that is constructed in a shape or configuration such that it does not resemble a handgun, rifle, shotgun, or machine gun including, but not limited to, a firearm that resembles a key-chain, pen, cigarette lighter, cigarette package, cellphone, smart phone, wallet, or cane.

ii. "Undetectable firearm" means a firearm that: (1) after removal of all parts other than major components, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar; or (2) includes a major component which, if the firearm were subjected to inspection by the types of detection devices commonly used at airports for security screening, would not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component. "Undetectable firearm" shall not be construed to include a firearm subject to the provisions of paragraphs (3) through (6) of subsection (p) of 18 U.S.C. s.922.

jj. "Major component" means the slide or cylinder or the frame or receiver of a firearm and, in the case of a rifle or shotgun, also includes the barrel.

kk. "Security Exemplar" means the Security Exemplar fabricated in accordance with subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subsection (p) of 18 U.S.C. s.922.

ll. "Authorized user" means the lawful owner of a personalized handgun or a person to whom the owner has given consent to use the personalized handgun.

mm. ".50 BMG cartridge" means a cartridge that is designed and intended to be fired from a center-fire rifle and that meets all of the following criteria:

(1) it has an overall length of 5.54 inches from the base to the tip of the bullet;

(2) the bullet diameter for the cartridge is from .510 inches to and including .511 inch;

(3) the case base diameter for the cartridge is from .800 inches to and including .804 inch; and

(4) the cartridge case length is 3.91 inches.

nn. "Living historical reenactment" means a depiction of historical characters, scenes, historical life, or events for entertainment, education, or historical documentation through the wearing or use of period, historical, antique or vintage clothing, accessories, firearms, weapons, and other implements of the historical period.

amended 1981, c.363, s.1; 1983, c.479, s.1; 1985, c.360, s.1; 1987, c.228, s.1; 1989, c.120, s.1; 1990, c.32, s.1; 1999, c.233, s.1; 1999, c.255, s.1; 2002, c.130, s.5; 2017, c.323, s.1; 2018, c.38, s.1; 2018, c.39, s.1; 2018, c.138, s.1; 2019, c.164, s.6; 2022, c.54, s.1.

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