WHO QUALIFIES AS A “FAMILY OR HOUSEHOLD MEMBER” AND CAN FILE A “RED FLAG” ACTION AGAINST YOU?
“Family or household member” means a spouse, domestic partner, partner in a civil union couple, or former spouse, former domestic partner, or former partner in a civil union couple, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member; a person with whom the respondent has a child in common, or with whom the respondent anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant; or a current or former dating partner.
Basically, anyone who permanently lives with you, used to permanently live with you, has a child with you, or is a family member is considered family or household member, for the purposes of this law.
If someone is not a family or household member, that person simply goes to a law enforcement officer, who can file the “Red Flag” on their behalf.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A NEW JERSEY “RED FLAG” ACTION (EXTREME RISK PROTECTIVE ORDER) IS FILED AGAINST YOU?
The order prohibits the gun owner from owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving firearms or ammunition, and from securing or holding a firearms license or permit during the period the protective order is in effect. Additionally, the gun owner is required to surrender all firearms, ammunition, and any firearms license or permit held.
HOW ARE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION SEIZED UNDER A “RED FLAG” ORDER?
The court will order the gun owner to surrender all firearms, ammunition, and licenses to law enforcement. Also, the court will issue a search warrant and the law enforcement officer who serves the order shall request that all firearms and ammunition immediately be surrendered. The gun owner must comply, in a safe manner, giving all firearms, ammunition and licenses to the control of the law enforcement officer.
After the gun owner surrenders firearms and ammunition to a law enforcement officer, or surrenders or sells firearms and ammunition to a licensed dealer, the gun owner must, within 48 hours after being served with the order, file the receipt with the county prosecutor. Failure to timely file the receipt or copy of the receipt shall constitute criminal contempt of the order.
HOW LONG DOES A “RED FLAG” ORDER LAST?
A temporary extreme risk protective order issued under this section shall remain in effect until a court issues a further order. It shall be in effect throughout the state and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.
WHEN WILL THERE BE A FINAL HEARING ON THE “RED FLAG” ORDER?
A hearing shall be held in the Superior Court within 10 days of the filing. The county prosecutor shall produce in an expedited manner, any available evidence. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence at the hearing that the gun owner poses a significant danger of bodily injury to himself or others, by owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue a “Red Flag” order prohibiting that.
IS THERE AN ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION DATABASE FOR FINAL EXTREME RISK PROTECTIVE ORDERS?
All persons who have had a “Red Flag” order entered against them are to be entered into an electronic central registry, created and maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
IS SOMEONE WHO IS SUBJECT TO A “RED FLAG” ORDER CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR PURCHASE, ACQUISITION, OWNING, POSSESSING, OR CONTROLLING A FIREARM OR AMMUNITION?
Yes, under C.2C:39-7b.(4) a person who is subject to a “Extreme Risk Protective Order” and purchases, acquires, owns, possesses, or controls a firearm or ammunition is guilty of a crime of the third degree, carrying up to five years in state prison.
ARE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION TO BE DESTROYED AFTER A “RED FLAG” ORDER IS TERMINATED?
Assuming you are legally able to possess firearms, once the Red Flag order is terminated you are allowed to recover your firearms and ammunition from the law enforcement agency or dealer holding them. Be careful though, a law enforcement agency holding any firearm or ammunition for at least one year, after the termination of the extreme risk protective order, may destroy the firearm or ammunition in accordance with the policies and procedures of the agency.
If you have any questions regarding New Jersey’s Red Flag Law, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.