BB, Pellet & Airsoft Gun Possession
Charged With Possession of a B-B, Pellet or Airsoft Gun
We commonly handle pellet gun cases, because most New Jersey residents do not understand that even though these pellet guns may look like toys they are actually considered real firearms under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5. BB guns and air pistols such as Airsoft guns are extremely popular throughout New Jersey, especially with teenagers and young adults. In most cases, you only have to be 18 years old to buy to an air gun and you do not need to a firearms ID card to purchase it. The biggest manufacturers of air guns are Airsoft, Crosman, Gamo and Daisy. If you are arrested for possession of a BB gun you will most likely be charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon or Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes if you are found possessing or transporting an airgun without a permit or using it in an unlawful manner. The defense lawyers and former prosecutors at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are experienced in defending unlawful gun charges. Our criminal attorneys represent clients throughout Mercer County and surrounding areas including Hamilton, Trenton, West Windsor, Princeton, Robbinsville, Hopewell, Lawrenceville, Ewing and East Windsor. Please contact our office today to speak with an experienced lawyer about the details of your case.
Pellet Air Pistols
B-B gun pistols are subject to all of the laws applicable to handguns in New Jersey. A spring or elastic action pistol is literally considered a handgun and, therefore, a permit is required to possess, carry or transport it under N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4. If you are caught with an air pistol without the proper permits you are guilty of a third degree felony unlawful possession of a weapon under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b). A third degree crime is punishable by 3 -5 years in prison with up to 3 years being mandatory without parole eligibility under the Graves Act. Under certain circumstances, the prosecutor can consider waiving the Graves Act regulations or downgrading or amending the charge if the facts call for it. An example of a lesser included charge that applies to individuals under 21 years old is possession of a firearm by a minor under N.J.S.A. 2C:58-6.1. This statute makes it a fourth degree offense who any individual under 21 years old to possess, carry, fire, or use a pistol without proper supervision.
Air Gun Rifles
Under the current law, mere possession any BB rifle without a firearm purchaser ID card is not illegal because it does not meet the definition of a rifle under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(f) since it does not have a rifled bore. However, possession of an air or pellet rifle under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful use is a fourth degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison. The focus is on the circumstances of the possession and not the defendant’s intent. For instance, a pellet gun hidden under the driver’s seat of a car would give rise to this inference. Moreover, possession of a BB rifle for unlawful purposes is a third degree offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4. The focus here is on the defendant’s intent to use it another person or their property and instead of the actual circumstances of the possession. It should also be noted that mere possession of a BB gun on school grounds is a third degree crime under 2C:39-5(e) because they are considered “firearms”. As mentioned above, a third degree charge is punishable by 3 – 5 years incarceration if convicted.
Possession of a Paintball Gun for Unlawful Purpose
Unlike pellet guns, a paintball gun is not considered a “firearm” under NJ law, but is instead considered a weapon capable of serious bodily injury under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1. Therefore, just like most other weapons crimes you can be charged with a fourth degree crime for possessing a paintball gun under circumstances that are not manifestly appropriate for a lawful use. The charge will be upgraded to a third degree felony if you unlawfully intend or use the paintball against another person or their property. The difference between these two distinct acts can confusing but as mentioned above, the fourth offense goes to the circumstances surrounding the possession, while the third degree focuses on the intent of the defendant at the time of the offense.
New Jersey Laws on BB Guns
The laws surrounding New Jersey gun laws are very complicated and convoluted especially where they are applicable to BB guns. For instance, Federal law prohibits New Jersey from banning the sale of BB guns under 15 U.S.C. 5001. But it does not prevent New Jersey from classifying pellet guns as actual firearms and their applicable regulations such as licensing and possession by persons with a criminal record. This makes these guns easily accessible for individuals to buy at sports shops and retail stores but then puts New Jersey residents in a tough bind when they are caught possessing them without the proper firearm permits required under the state law. Moreover, it is not a valid defense that the defendant did not know the laws or that they could not carry a pellet pistol without a permit. These types of charges are some of the most severe in New Jersey and a conviction can bring the possibility of lengthy incarceration and other harsh repercussions. The threat of incarceration is always an urgent matter that must be addressed immediately. By hiring a lawyer experienced in defending weapons and gun charges you can help to put yourself in the best possible position to avoid unnecessary penalties. Our attorneys are often successful at working with the prosecutor’s office to waive the mandatory incarceration under the Graves Act and seeking our client’s admittance into the Pre-trial Intervention program to ensure no permanent record. Do not hesitate to contact our office, with locations in Princeton, Hamilton and Lawrence Township, for a free initial consultation over the phone or to schedule an appointment.
We serve clients throughout Mercer County, New Jersey — including Trenton, Hamilton, Princeton Borough, West Windsor, East Windsor, Lawrence Township, Robbinsville, Hightstown, Princeton Township, Ewing and Hopewell — and surrounding areas, including Hunterdon County and Burlington County.