States of Emergency, quarantines, and disaster declarations can bring fear and panic for everyone, due to the uncertainty surrounding them. When state governments throughout the U.S. have varying policies regarding how your rights change, it can be confusing for anyone to fully understand their freedom during these times.

When it comes to your firearms, be assured that we will keep you up to date on any changes in the law that impact your rights. 

As for general Coronavirus updates and local and national conditions, the news on these restrictions is coming fast and furious across the nation. Please follow state, local, and national news, as this information can change by the day and hour.

In light of Coronavirus, New Jersey does not provide any special protection of gun owner’s rights during a State of Emergency. In fact, under New Jersey law:

“In the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, firearms dealers shall discontinue the sale of firearms and ammunition upon notification by the Superintendent or the chief of police of the municipality where the firearms dealers’ business is located, that a civil disturbance or other emergency exists. (b) Those businesses affected shall not resume the sale of firearms or ammunition until such time as the Superintendent or the chief of police of the municipality determines that the civil disturbance or other emergency no longer exists…”

Previous Gun Seizures

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina showed the country the problem of having guns confiscated during an emergency. When firearms were needed the most, the Government took them away.  In response to the ill-advised Hurricane Katrina gun seizure, the U.S. Government enacted laws prohibiting the U.S. Government from seizing guns during a National Emergency. However, the State of New Jersey does not afford its citizens any such protection. Given New Jersey’s anti-Second Amendment attitude, it would not be surprising that, at some point, the State government attempts to confiscate guns during a State of Emergency.

What are your rights?

If law enforcement knocks on your door, you have no obligation to answer any questions. Furthermore, you have no obligation to consent to a search without a warrant. These are your rights and by adhering to your rights, you may reduce the risk of your guns being seized. Never physically resist any law enforcement officer, but you should never consent to waiving your constitutional rights.

Another issue we saw with Hurricane Katrina was the difficulty of having guns returned to their rightful owners. It is important that you have a list of your firearms with make, model, type of gun, and serial number. Taking pictures as well is a good idea. Store this list somewhere other than with your firearms. Having such documentation can be of valuable assistance in seeing your guns eventually returned if ever confiscated.

If you have any questions about a State of Emergency in New Jersey or anything else, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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