In New Jersey, you cannot lawfully lend a gun to a third party. Unless excused by a necessity defense, this cannot be done without exposure to an unlawful firearms transfer, which has felony-level criminal liability.
What the law says
New Jersey strictly controls the possession of firearms, and enumerates two narrow circumstances where you may temporarily transfer your firearm to a qualified person in your actual presence, and under your supervision:
1) At the range for the purpose of instruction; and
2) While hunting for a period not more than eight consecutive hours in any 24 hour period.
There are no statutory exceptions or exemptions for household or family members on any grounds, whether self-defense, safety instructions, maintenance, or merely moving the gun about the house. This means, under New Jersey law, the concept of a family house gun is inherently unlawful. If you’re not at the range or hunting together, you have no legal basis for the other person to be handling your gun (with the exception of minors under the conditions prescribed in NJS 2C:58-6.1).
For a startling example:
Imagine a home invasion with criminals beating on your doors. You know your spouse is completely qualified to have and use firearms. If you hand your spouse one of your guns, while telling them to guard the backdoor while you guard the front, you would be making an unlawful firearms transfer under New Jersey law.
Accordingly, it is important for household members who may be responsible to use a firearm in self-defense (or defense of others) to become qualified under the law to own and possess their own firearms in New Jersey.
If you have any questions about lending your handgun to a third party, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.