THE NJ FIREARM I.D. CARD'S GREAT MYTHS EXPLORED! STAYING OUT OF JAIL BY USING THE KING'S ENGLISH!
by David "Rosey" Rosenthal, Editor in-Chief Black Wire Media
Sunday August 30, 2020 www.cnjfo.com/join-us
First, the legal mumbo-jumbo: I AM NOT A LAWYER!
Does your range make up NJ gun law all by itself? Do your friends, relatives and FFL's you deal with? Do you get confused trying to interpret conflicting statutes of NJ gun law by yourself and then resort to self-discrimination of your legal gun rights in order to make yourself "FEEL SAFE" when transporting firearms, so you won't be the next victim of persecution for a simple mistake? The following Op-Ed was initially a response to a CNJFO member & supporter who asked me questions based upon a notice he saw at his local range which said:
If you are shooting alone, you need to bring your current FID with you EVERY VISIT. In addition to it being a law for transporting firearms throughout the state, our insurance policy mandates this. For everyone’s safety this is a must and now in effect. If you have any questions please call or write."
OUR MEMBER'S TIMELY QUESTIONS:
"1- I thought if your renting alone you just needed a drivers license. What if you don't have a FID CARD?
1b - If I'm a member shooting alone, I need my FID Card.
1c - Are insurance companies now getting involved?
2- I know it's good to have, but is it now a law that you do need it (NJFPID card) to transport?
3- Again, I know it's better to have your NJFPID card with you, would a copy suffice?"
I'll handle this one question at a time, applying out-of-the-box thinking and actual examples I've eye-witnessed. Here goes:
1. Rules set by commercial ranges can change like spools of toilet paper. If they say you have to shoot on one foot weak-handed, then that's what everybody has to do or risk getting thrown-out. This enforcement is due to a commercial insurance carrier's Underwriter doing their due diligence via a suicide threat assessment and is implemented to offset an extremely high insurance premium. It's a choice every commercial range that rents firearms (and has this business model) figures out on its own and puts into effect. Insurance carriers get involved at ranges before the first cement block is laid to create the foundation, let alone establish "rules" put into place to reduce suicides. Since all private clubs mandate you be a NJFPID card holder on their applications, this "rule" by commercial ranges isn't needed. A gun owner & NJFPID card holder doesn't need to rent a gun to take their life. It HAS happened at a commercial NJ range, but is EXTREMELY RARE!
Many foreign nationals from communist countries get a taste of freedom at commercial ranges. None of THEM have NJ or ANY other driver's license. I've seen it with my own eyes. In fact, foreign nationals represent a huge target market that keeps commercial ranges BUSY and PROFITABLE! A foursome arrives in an Uber from NYC and drops $150 - $200 per head for rental guns, lots of ammo and instruction. It's like going to Disney only LOUDER!
2. In a one word answer, NO! Here's WHY:
A NJFPID card has never been required by law to transport firearms within the existing exemptions! One reason is a NJFPID card holder has to be 18 years old. NJ Fish & Wildlife issues hunting licenses to 10 year olds (they need to be accompanied by parent or guardian), and allows kids to HUNT BY THEMSELVES before they're allowed to drive! So if the "Yellow Card" (NJFPID) was mandatory, every 17 year old licensed driver who hunts in NJ with his Mom's or Dad's scattergun would be guilty of an indictable offense (FELONY!) for merely driving the empty scattergun & ammo to the hunting location!
New arrivals to NJ from out of state can bring-in their 200 gun collections and never register in NJ as a gun owner. So long as there aren't any semi-auto long guns with EVIL features (a scattergun that holds more than 6 rounds or has a pistol grip, and of course rifles with only 2 evil features with the pistol grip) or external mags that hold more than 10 rounds (.22 semi-auto pea shooters actually got a break---signed into law by Murphy!--so 18 round tubular mags are back to being street-legal), those new residents OR VISITORS are "golden"...
Lots of private clubs hold scheduled competitions with all three popular platforms (rifle, pistol, and shotgun), and do so with visitors from neighboring states. These out-of-state competitors don't hold NJFPID cards! Since LAWS fall on everyone EQUALLY, and these non-residents attend matches without getting arrested for not having a NJFPID card, you shouldn't get in trouble either...
No one ever arrested a surviving spouse for illegally transporting their spouse's firearms (registered or NOT) to ANY EXEMPT LOCATION! Appraiser, FFL, Gunsmith, range, hunting field, etc., etc., etc. Lord knows plenty of firearm owners have left this mortal coil, so where are all the inmates guilty of a felony for transporting w/o a "Yellow Card"?
A 18 year old "kid" can be willed firearms (long gun only), and a 21 year old can legally transport hand guns willed to them. Neither kid needs a yellow card to take their deceased relative's firearms to the range or any other exempt location. Which is why none of them are sittin' in jail...
3. Technically speaking, by the letter of the law, having your FPID card WITH YOU while transporting IS NOT REQUIRED! It's the most common NJ firearms law myth after "hollow points are illegal". Nowhere is it written in the 2C statutes that you must POSSESS IT while transporting. The law merely stipulates that it only be "OBTAINED", thus creating your SBI number. Further investigation on your part will conclude that there isn't ANY law or PENALTY written that indicates POSSESSION must be accommodated to be within the written exemption. Refer back to the 17 year old hunter driving alone above...
WHY I SHOULD HAVE MY NJFPID WITH ME:
One item to note, a NJFPID does provide an alternative means to possess a long gun while transporting. Namely it provides for lawful transport WHILE OUTSIDE the standard exemptions that apply to non-residents, visiting shooters and residents without NJFPID cards; it is not, however, mandated for transport within the exemptions. It's VERY important to know the EXEMPTIONS and carry your card with you (if you've "OBTAINED" it) in order to exercise your FULL rights as a gun owner like I do.
The most prominent example of "extended liberties" (as I call them) when transporting LONG GUNS while in possession of your "Yellow Card" is the ability to go virtually anywhere you want with properly secured EMPTY long guns in your vehicle. That boils-down to not visiting schools, government buildings and military installations with small arms in your vehicle. Shopping, visiting, pumpkin picking, et-al are all now covered, thus making your life easier and somewhat hassle-free. You no longer have to live by the infamous NJ "Directly To & From Exempt Locations Rule" that always covers hand gun transport. In fact older versions of the card (like mine from 1983) actually stated its purpose as "PURCHASE and CARRY of rifles and shotguns" and as a permit to possess same.
1b above is merely a "range rule" designed to lower insurance rates thereby keeping cost of doing business and the resultant annual dues, port fees, etc. at a commercial range, UNDER CONTROL!
Additionally, if a NJ multi-millionaire that had multiple residences spread throughout NJ's 21 counties, leaving his/her yellow card in Bergen county never stopped them from bringing firearms to their shore house for plinking, competition OR self-defense. Much like when the country was formed, LAND OWNERS HAVE MORE RIGHTS (and more EXEMPTIONS too)!
I hope I've been helpful. Thanks again for your steadfast support of 2A and CNJFO in particular.