What Self-Defense Weapons are Legal in NJ?

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By Bryan Rucker •  8 min read

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for information on what self-defense weapons are legal in New Jersey. Pepper spray, stun guns, and knives are all legal to own and carry in New Jersey.

There are some restrictions on who can carry these weapons and where they can be carried, detailed below. While you are permitted to carry many weapons in most places, there are some locations where you are not.

It is against the law to bring a self-defense weapon into any government building, school, or place of worship without prior authorization. So let’s take a closer look at each of these weapons individually.

Legal Self-Defense Weapons in New Jersey include:

1: Pepper Spray

Pepper spray does not require a license in New Jersey, unlike other firearms, but it is still considered a weapon under state law. Therefore, a person can legally purchase, own, and carry pepper spray if they meet the state’s requirements in which they live.

If you want to purchase and use pepper spray in New Jersey, you must be 18 years old. Other requirements include not having a criminal record and not being found to be involved in drug abuse.

Use of pepper spray for self-defense should be limited to three-quarters of an ounce, and the amount contained in the container should not exceed that amount.

Moreover, any substance used in the pepper spray containers must only cause temporary discomfort or disability. No substances that can cause permanent disability should be used in the pepper spray containers.

2: Knives

When it comes to owning knives in New Jersey, things become a little more complicated; the state permits the possession of a few types of knives while prohibiting the possession of others that could be used in criminal activity.

A knife with a blade less than five inches in length and an overall length of no more than ten inches is legal to own in most jurisdictions.

Their requirements and intended use also determine the legality of knives; you can carry folded and even fixed blade knives for hunting, camping, and hiking activities, but you cannot carry them for any other purpose.

Examples of knives that can be used legally include switchblades, ballistic knives, gravity knives, daggers, stilettos, and dirk knives. If you cannot provide a legitimate reason for your possession of such items, you may face legal consequences.

3: Tactical Pens

NJ and most other states in the United States allow you to carry tactical pens legally; however, the use of a tactical pen or any other similar item must be limited to self-defense purposes only in NJ and all other states.

Furthermore, according to New Jersey law, anything that has the potential to cause serious bodily harm to another person is considered a weapon.

As a result, depending on the size and appearance of the tactical pen, airport authorities may refuse to allow it on board, and security agents may confiscate it.

4: Kubotan

Depending on its size, a kubaton is legal to carry in almost all states in the United States; however, there are many places where this is not allowed, such as airports and train stations.

Despite this, Kubotans can be an extremely effective self-defense tool, especially if you have taken some self-defense classes to learn how to use them effectively.

Most of the time, kubotans are carried as key chains, which serves as an excellent disguise for their true intentions.

Therefore, there will be no problems if you only carry them on your person. However, suppose you use them in a fight. In that case, the situation will be very different, and law enforcement may consider them a weapon in your possession.

5: Walking Sticks

Using a cane in one hand and the back of the crook as a strike, you can deliver devastating blows to your foe. Then, depending on your position, you can defend yourself against an approaching attacker by slamming the cane forward with either hand at either end.

In addition to being a fantastic blocking and striking tool, it can also be used to hook and pull an attacker off the balance if appropriately used (although this does expose the wielder to the danger of having his center of gravity disrupted).

Aside from pushing with the weapon’s tip, the crook can also be used to keep the weapon from being taken away by the opponent if they try to take the tip.


Most Effective Self-Defense Weapon in NJ

Personal alarms, tactical pens, whistles, flashlights, stun guns, folding or pocket knives, pepper spray, walking sticks, and other self-defense items are among the best you can legally carry in New Jersey. However, make sure that these items are only used for self-defense purposes.

All of the items listed above are legal, but they may be subject to an age restriction or other conditions that the user must meet before using them.

We strongly encourage all of our readers to enroll in self-defense classes because you never know when this type of training will come in handy and save you from various types of attacks or threats.


What Guns Are Legal in NJ?

1: Rifles

In New Jersey, you are permitted to own, store, and carry a rifle legally; however, you must first obtain a lifetime FID (Purchaser Identification Card) from the appropriate government agency.

The age restrictions and other requirements for obtaining a license will be made clear to you when you submit your application for the permit. When purchasing a rifle in New Jersey, make certain that you are purchasing it from a state-authorized firearms dealer.

All sales made through such establishments are recorded in the state database. Another point to note is that many semi-automatic and fully automatic rifles are now prohibited in the state of New Jersey, so refrain from illegally purchasing or borrowing such firearms, as doing so could land you in legal trouble, regardless of whether you use them.

2: Shotgun

After passing a background check, you may be granted permission to purchase, carry, and use a shotgun in New Jersey if you meet the age requirements and other conditions.

You will, however, be required to obtain an FID to purchase shotguns from authorized dealers in the state, just as you will be required to do so for rifles.

Another point to consider is the length, cartridge ammunition capacity, and magazine type of your shotgun; the state of New Jersey has banned several different kinds of shotguns (whether they are semi-automatic, or have a detachable magazine).

Finally, you must make certain that you only possess legal shotguns and that you do not modify your shotguns in any way.

3: Handgun

Possessing a handgun, including an antique handgun, without first obtaining a Permit to Carry is illegal.

Likewise, possessing a rifle or shotgun without first obtaining an FID is unlawful.

Obtaining a handgun license from the appropriate law enforcement agency in New Jersey is the first step toward owning a firearm in the state.

Handguns are generally regarded as concealed weapons, and as a result, openly carrying one is prohibited unless express permission has been granted.


Some Open Questions

What is the legal age for owning a firearm in NJ?

The legal age for owning a firearm (long gun) is 18. However, there are some exceptions for minors between the ages of 16 and 18 who can own a long rifle or shotgun with consent from their legal guardian.

Once again, many people between those ages do not even know this exception exists, so it’s essential to make sure you’re informed on your rights and what the laws say about these self-defense tools, such as firearms.

Are there any places where I cannot carry my handgun?

Yes, there are quite a few places where one may not possess a pistol. For example, a permit is not needed to carry your firearm in a vehicle or on foot.

Still, it is illegal to bring onto school grounds, federal buildings, and establishments that sell alcohol. There are also restrictions regarding air travel, so be sure to check with the TSA for their regulations.

Moreover, there are places in NJ where firearms are prohibited by law, no matter what. These include state parks, forests, and recreation areas. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the entire list of places in NJ where firearms are restricted.

Can you own a stun gun if you’re under 18 years of age?

For any type of self-defense weapon, the age you can own one varies by state. In New Jersey, for example, an individual must be 18 years old to purchase a stun gun or taser.

New York also restricts the sale of certain types of weapons that can only be purchased after being 21 years old.

Other states have similar purchasing restrictions placed on individuals under 18 years old, so it is best to know your state laws before making any purchases online or at a store near you.


Final Thoughts

Now that you know the legalities of self-defense weapons, you can make an informed decision on what to get.

If you are looking for something that is easy to conceal and does not require any concealed carry permits, look into pepper sprays or stun guns. Both are very effective in disabling attackers without killing them.

On the other hand, if your ultimate goal is protecting yourself from criminals with firearms, then a gun might be the best bet for you. Proper training and practice will protect you against threats or injury when faced by someone who has ill intentions towards your safety.

Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things wildlife. His concern grew astronomically during the previous tensions between the United States and other nations. He also has grown a substantial interest in survival and sustainability due to the current shape of the world over the years. He believes that preparation triumphs all things.