In Brief

As N.J. gun law evolves, here’s where you can and can’t take guns in New Jersey

By: - May 17, 2023 6:56 am

A federal judge Tuesday cited a historical tradition of guns in certain places when she deemed much of New Jersey’s new concealed carry gun law unconstitutional. (Getty Images)

Guns are again banned in some places in New Jersey after a June 2021 court order.

From court rulings to new laws to lawsuits and back again, the pivots in policy over the past year on gun carry in New Jersey have even the experts on gun rights a bit befuddled on where exactly firearms are allowed.

With federal Judge Renée Marie Bumb’s newest order out Tuesday, most of the “sensitive” places where state lawmakers banned guns now are cleared again to carry. Bumb cited a historical tradition of guns in those places or noted that the mere presence of children at any particular location does make it a sensitive place.

That means if you are properly licensed, you can take a gun to these places:

  • Public gatherings. Bumb wrote that forbidding guns in all places of public congregation is “a bridge too far.”
  • Zoos.
  • Parks, beaches, and recreational facilities.
  • Public libraries and museums.
  • Bars and restaurants serving alcohol.
  • Entertainment facilities like arenas, stadiums, theaters, racetracks, and theme parks.
  • Casinos.
  • The dropoff and pickup areas outside airports. Federal law also allows gun owners to check firearms with checked luggage, so Bumb allows gun owners to carry guns inside airports only to take them directly to a Transportation Security Administration-designated area for firearm check-in.
  • Medical offices and ambulatory care facilities.
  • Public film sets.
  • In vehicles. State law requires gun owners to keep guns unloaded and inside a closed, locked case or in the trunk. Bumb suspended that requirement and allowed guns to be “functional” and accessible.

Guns still are forbidden in places where there is a prevalence of vulnerable people like children and people incapacitated by age or illness. That means gun owners cannot take guns to:

  • Schools.
  • Playgrounds.
  • Youth sports events.
  • Colleges and universities.
  • Hospitals and most health care facilities.

Guns also remain banned in places where public business is conducted:

  • Courthouses.
  • Polling places.
  • Government buildings.
  • Legislative assemblies.

And gun owners can’t take guns onto private property anywhere without the property owner’s permission.

The caveat on all this is that the challenge to New Jersey’s new gun law is ongoing. New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin immediately appealed Bumb’s ruling Tuesday, and the judge will eventually decide whether to issue a permanent injunction, which essentially would overturn the law.

A federal ban on guns remains in place at federal courthouses, buildings, prisons, cemeteries, military bases (except military personnel), post offices, buildings in national parks and forests, Amtrak trains, and Native American reservations.


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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.