A recent study of gun laws in Connecticut found that “risk-based” gun removal laws reduced the number of gun-related suicides. In fact, the study concluded that one suicide was prevented for approximately every 10 guns collected by law enforcement. A risk-based gun removal law permits a judge to enter an order of temporary confiscation of firearms when the gun owner is at risk of self-harm or of harming others.
According to media reports, legislators in New Jersey are poised to submit similar legislation. Although New Jersey currently does not have the same risk-based gun removal laws, the State’s domestic violence laws do permit the removal of guns from a person who is believed to be at risk of harming others following an incident of domestic violence.
Under New Jersey’s existing domestic violence laws, anyone who is accused of a predicate act of domestic violence and who is served with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) will be required to turn over any guns in their possession. In fact, all restraining orders in New Jersey include the following language: “You are prohibited from possessing any and all firearms or other weapons and must immediately surrender these firearms, weapons, permit(s) to carry, application(s) to purchase firearms and firearms ID card to the officer serving this Court Order.”
In addition, if you are served with a Temporary Restraining Order, it may also function as a warrant that authorizes law enforcement officers to search your home and seize your firearms and your firearms purchaser identification card. Moreover, even if for some reason the authorities are not able to take possession of your firearms at first, a Temporary Restraining Order states that “a failure to comply with the directive to surrender all weapons, firearms permits, applications or identification cards may constitute criminal contempt pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b).”