NJ legal question - cleaning in view of the street


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mhdishere
November 24, 2004, 11:26 AM
I have a wish-list of a few Millsurp rifles, and my wife has informed me that "messy and smelly" (cleaning, etc) work on them will be conducted in the garage where I have my tools and workbench. My garage is plainly visible from the street. Would cleaning/handling my guns in public view (although on my own property) cause a legal issue in NJ? Or should I just close the door to avoid scaring the sheeple? Or should I call the local police to make sure?

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CZ 75 BD
November 24, 2004, 11:28 AM
Dang sure wouldn't call the police to ask anything about firearms.

WT
November 24, 2004, 11:39 AM
If your neighbors object, they will call the police. The police will arrive to have a little talk with you. Put the firearms down and don't make sudden moves. Keep your hands visible. They will do a felony/warrants check on you. If clear, they will request that you clean the firearms out of view of the neighbors.

They will leave, write you up, and stick a contact note in your file at headquarters. They will frequently pass by your house for the next few days to make sure things are okay in the 'hood.'

You are not doing anything illegal but you will become a 'marked man'.

RavenVT100
November 24, 2004, 11:43 AM
Nothing is worth letting the neighbors see your firearms. Keep them hidden. Depending on where in NJ you are, the police may or may not be against people owning guns. Thankfully, my local PD has been very helpful with all of the firearms-related paperwork that the state mandates, but not all departments are like that. I would exercise extreme discretion, especially if you live in one of the more heavily-populated or urbanized areas of New Jersey.

Asking the police what you're allowed to do with firearms is not necessarily a bad thing (it demonstrates a willingness to abide by the law), but keep in mind that it's a good idea to know what the department "atmosphere" is regarding guns before you ask, and also keep in mind that the police do a number of different things with their time and are not paid to be firearms law experts. If your neighbors see a "guy with a gun," they will call the police and the police will come. It's virtually guaranteed around here.

newman32
November 24, 2004, 11:47 AM
Man, that just isn't a good idea here in NJ - legal or not.

Not to mention displaying stuff that passerby may be interested in stealing from you in the future.

Unfortunately, guns are a private issue around here. My .02 :)

Titus
November 24, 2004, 11:55 AM
Could you leave the garage door about halfway open so you get ventilation, but all the neighbors can see is feet walking around in there?

Highland Ranger
November 24, 2004, 11:56 AM
Depends on where you are; probably not good in urban areas (Jersey City, Newark etc.) probably no issue in rural areas like Sussex county.

But why not just close the door?

I do my cleaning in the garage as well and I typically leave the door closed.

George S.
November 24, 2004, 11:58 AM
I'd just close the door so nobody could see in or at least close it to where it would be hard to see what you're doing, but make sure that there is a way to provide good ventilation so any fumes from the cleaning materials won't build up and cause you any problems.

Can you park a car in front of the door so it hides the workbench? Or maybe just hang a sheet or tarp up in front of the bench?

geekWithA.45
November 24, 2004, 12:04 PM
It's best to remain stealthy, especially in NJ.

No, it's not unlawful per se, but it's inviting trouble you don't need.

tc300mag1
November 24, 2004, 12:07 PM
Why would you want to clean so the neighbors might see i live in a decent area and dont even want my neighbors i dont talk to to know i have firearms

mhdishere
November 24, 2004, 12:40 PM
Thanks folks, you pretty much confirmed what I suspected, not illegal but probably not a good idea. I'll close the door at least half-way, and open the window (that looks out onto the fenced yard). For those who asked, I live in a suburban area, mostly one-family houses.

I admit I find it a little annoying, it's my property, I jumped thru all the hoops that I had to in order to get the FID, I've never even had a speeding ticket.

juggler
November 24, 2004, 01:20 PM
I admit I find it a little annoying, it's my property, I jumped thru all the hoops that I had to in order to get the FID, I've never even had a speeding ticket.

I can sympathize..... threads like this make me appreciate my set-up. Out in the sticks where only my dogs are watching.

Unfortunately you must consider the ramifications where you live. In a similar circumstance, if I wanted some good ventilation, I would probably invest in a screen to obstruct line-of sight.

But then I'd be concerned about someone walking up unseen. :(

Good luck.

Dbl0Kevin
November 24, 2004, 02:12 PM
I'd have to concur with most of the people here. It basically comes down to what part of the state you live in. In my town, and especially my street, I think that just about every house within sight of mine has guns and knows that I'm a gun-owner. No biggie around here as my town has a huge hunting population being about 50% made up of State Forrest lands.

There is nothing you can be charged with if you are simply in possession of a firearm in your house or on "property owned by you" as stated in NJ statutes. However, in some of the more urban areas I wouldn't trust the locals or the police to be too forgiving about it and would most likely harass you.

Nathaniel Firethorn
November 24, 2004, 03:08 PM
Met a guy who made it a point to go out on his porch and clean his Rem 870, so that any BGs would know not to mess with him.

'Course, he's an ex-cop... :rolleyes:


- pdmoderator

Standing Wolf
November 24, 2004, 06:07 PM
Would cleaning/handling my guns in public view (although on my own property) cause a legal issue in NJ?

How sad that anyone would even think to ask! It's your property. They're your guns. That should be the end of the discussion in America.

CentralTexas
November 24, 2004, 06:33 PM
to move back to the United States....
:p
CT

Sam Adams
November 24, 2004, 08:29 PM
As a former NJ resident (nearly 40 years, escaped to Texas, Free America 4 years ago), I'd have to advise you to keep the door closed. If you need it open for ventilation, open it only a bit (use a fan if necessary to increase air flow, so that the door can be kept open as little as possible).

I live in Texas, and even here I don't want my neighbors to see what I have. Maybe some of them own as much or more than me (which ain't easy, I've got a closet full of "interesting historical items"), but maybe they are also gun-phobic and/or anti-gun arse-wholes, either of whom would call the local PD in a millisecond. I don't want to take the chance that they'll call the police saying "Sam Adams is brandishing a MACHINE GUN," and me finding out only when the SWAT team assaults the house. To be sure, such a thing is rare in Texas; in the PRNJ, you have to COUNT on people being afraid of/hating guns and gunowners, plus COUNT on the cops being power-hungry antis. It ain't necessarily so (sometimes you are pleasantly surprised), but it is far more prudent to be discreet and avoid any potential problem.

Besides, even if you have a nice conversation with Officer Friendly, he will duly note in his report that you have "lots of guns." No need for that record to be anywhere, but especially in the anti-gun peoples republics.

Finally, you probably will have others besides just neighbors and police officers viewing the contents of the garage if it is open - rumor has it that there are thieves among us. :what: No need for them to see what you have, and to thereby make yourself a target.

Be discreet and close the door.

Flatfender
November 24, 2004, 09:06 PM
1. You'll scare the sheep. :what:
2. The goblins will know that there be guns at your house. :evil:
3. Guns? What guns? ;)

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