NJ Firearms ID card application legality

Ok, so I’m applying for a Firearms Purchaser ID card (which is required in NJ if you want to purchase any firearm). One of the sections of the application is for two character references, “Names & Addresses of two reputable persons who are presently acquainted with the applicant, other than relatives.” I became curious as to whether this would exclude anyone related to me in any way, or just my immediate family, or just my blood relatives, so I looked up the relevant statutes in NJ’s online statute database. Apparently, the law itself makes no mention of relation when describing the references. So, my question is, how is it legal for the form to say that the requirements are stricter than the law prescribes?

Relevant links:
Application for Firearms Purchaser ID Card (PDF)
NJ Statute 2C:58-3 “Purchase of firearms”


Frankly I think this is a BS system - but in this particular instance it is likely better to find the character references that will satisfy the requirements of the form. Unless you want the thing rejected - I’m guessing you don’t.

Let someone else be the test case.

I agree that it’s a BS system. If you have to submit to a background/mental health check why do you need character references? Not only that, but I have heard from people that were references that the questions asked of them were along the lines of “Have you ever seen X lose his temper?” and “Have you ever seen X become intoxicated?” Obviously those questions are way out of line and a violation of the right to privacy. But regardless, if the law is to provide two references I will provide two references. However, I’m not in a particular rush to get my FID card, and I’m tempted to put down family members just to see if I can spite the anti-gun people. My only concern would be if it costs me more money to appeal a denied application…


Heh, I just read the last line of section 2C:58-3 f), which says “There shall be no conditions or requirements added to the form or content of the application, or required by the licensing authority for the issuance of a permit or identification card, other than those that are specifically set forth in this chapter.”

I’m going for it. I’m gonna put down my cousin and my wife’s uncle and see what happens. If I have to appeal, the law states that “No formal pleading and no filing fee shall be required as a preliminary to such hearing” so I don’t think it will cost me anything.


Note that clause c. states:

and clause e states:

I can certainly see the argument that the reference to the “community” means a broader community than the applicant’s own family, while the reference to “personally acquainted” isn’t how I would normally describe a family relationship. So in drafting the form, the superintendent may have interpreted these clauses to mean that the references must be from a broader community than one’s own relatives, in order to comply with the statute.

(Not meant as legal advice, of course - just to comment in a general way on the issue of statutory interpretation.)

I see your point, but I think it’s a pretty far stretch that the term “personally acquainted” excludes my family. I wonder if there’s a way to know how the term “personally acquainted” has to be interpreted, or is it just up to the judge that handles my hypothetical appeal?


I went through this process recently. The form they sent to my references had my name misspelled did not include any instructions for completion. Given that detailed level of processing I doubt they’ll even notice unless your references have the same last name or address as you.

In my case the process was kind of silly - I already owned firearms, I just wanted to make sure I was compliant with any laws when I moved here. It would have been much easier if the police would have exchaned my Illinois FOID card for a NJ version, like a driver’s license. Now that I have it, I’m not even sure I needed the card to legally own a firearm since the NJ card is a license to purchase (rifles) :confused:
Gun laws here are screwy.

Thanks for the info, lol. I’m not really worried about it, I just get irritated by the blatant unlawfulness of the form.


You would have to do some research to see if the point has been considered by the NJ courts. Given how contentious the issue of gun licensing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found some cases on the issue. You might try a local court house or law society library.

“Blatant unlawfulness” is in eye of the beholder. :wink: There’s a question here of statutory interpretation, as our discussion shows.

It does not act like a gun registration. You do not need a NJ FOID to own weapons that have been purchased legally elsewhere. As long as it complies with the NJ Assault Weapons ban.