AR15's Legal in NJ?


November 3, 2008, 09:22 PM
Hi all,

I'm just about to go for it and get 2 AR15 type rifles. One is chambered in 5.56 and the other in .308. From what i read in one gunbrokers posting the rifle is "nj legal". On the other hand I've just been told by a friend that AR15 may not be legal in NJ. Does anyone have info on this? I would appreciate it as I was about to order next week.

thanks in advance.

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November 3, 2008, 09:30 PM
Short answer: maybe

For an AR-15 type weapon to be NJ-legal, it must meet the following criteria:

- NOT be stamped "AR-15" or "CAR-15" on the receiver
- Have a fixed buttstock
- Have either a target crown barrel, or a permanently-installed muzzle brake (not a flash suppressor) - the barrel can NOT be threaded
- Have no bayonet lug
- Have no grenade launcher (I'm not kidding - that's really documented)
- Have no magazines of greater than 15 round capacity

November 3, 2008, 09:55 PM
The grenade launcher they mention isn't an M203, it's one of those muzzle devices from which one launches rifle grenades.

November 3, 2008, 10:05 PM
I believe you will need to buy a XM-15. Looks like the AR-15, but doesn't have the bayonet lug, no threaded barrel, etc...

November 3, 2008, 10:12 PM
Bushmaster "Post Ban" (

There are also a few S&W models available that would be legal in NJ
Smith and Wesson M&P (

Also please take a few moments to review the Attorney General's guidelines ( regarding assault weapons.

November 3, 2008, 10:48 PM
Just to expand on TOM488,

It can't be a COLT AR-15 or CAR-15, any other AR, so long as it doesn't have more than 2 of the previously named evil characteristics is legal.

Biggest bugbear for buying out of state is the permanently fixed muzzle brake.

Oh of course the fact that you can't actually buy 15 round 5.56 AR magazines means you are in effect restricted to 10 rounders.......

If you are really worried either buy directly from a gun shop in NJ or buy a non AR such as a Robinson Arms XCR.

November 3, 2008, 11:02 PM
Oh of course the fact that you can't actually buy 15 round 5.56 AR magazines means you are in effect restricted to 10 rounders.......
Not true. We have a dealer here in NJ that offers 15-round Magpul magazines: Look under Accessories

November 4, 2008, 07:57 AM
I'll ask the stupid question:
What difference does it make whether the gun is stamped AR-15 or CAR-15? How does that effect the performance?

I know, I know, it's a gun law. It doesn't have to make sense.

November 4, 2008, 08:04 AM
There is no difference. It is a matter of principle. Only AR-15 and CAR's should be stamped therefore they don't allow any legitimate AR-15 rifles. Has nothing to do with performance.

November 4, 2008, 08:47 AM
Stamping is not part of the NJ law.

The only relevant restriction is that is cannot be a Colt AR-15 or CAR-15.

This is only there as it was the wording from the original AWB.

For example, it's the same as not being allowed to buy a

FN-FAL, FN-LAR, or FN-FNC type semi-automatic firearms

But you can buy a DSA-Arms FAL type

Not allowed a

Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, MP5, PSG-1

But you can buy a PTR-91

etc etc

November 4, 2008, 08:50 AM
According to Sarco Inc (in NJ) there is a list of what is illegal. A Colt may be illegal while the identical Bushmaster is legal. Go to several NJ dealers and see what they can sell you.

November 4, 2008, 01:27 PM
What difference does it make whether the gun is stamped AR-15 or CAR-15?
It's one of those pesky legal things... NJ has a ban on "assault firearms". They define an "assault firearm" as belonging to an enumerated list of firearms (statute 2C:39-1w). One of the types on that list is "Colt AR-15 and CAR-15 series". Now, even if you took an actual Colt AR-15, removed the upper receiver, and replaced it with an upper that had no flash suppressor or bayonet lug (ie. a "neutered", post-ban upper), it would no longer be identical to a "Colt AR-15", however, since the lower receiver is still marked "Colt AR-15", it would still be considered illegal in NJ.

Beyond that, the same law states that any firearm manufactured under any designation that is "substantially identical" to any listed assault firearm is also an assault firearm. What the hell does "substantially identical" mean? "Mostly similar"? "Kind of the same"? In an effort to clarify that, the Attorney General released a set of guidelines that effectively said an assault firearm is any semi-automatic rifle that can accept a detachable magazine, and has two of the following features (these have come to be known as the "evil features" list): A folding or collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet lug, a flash suppressor, or a threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher. On most AR-15 style rifles, the one allowed "evil feature" is the pistol grip.

So, what this all means, is that a Colt AR-15 is illegal to possess in NJ, while a Bushmaster XM15, with a fixed stock, and target-crown barrel, is legal. Make sense? Of course not - but there you go.

November 4, 2008, 01:47 PM
All of the reponses to your posts give you valuable info. Go to and you can read the final word. Click on firearms in the pull down menu and go from there.

In short you can legally buy both rifles you want but are limited to things that don't affect the performance of the rifle.

November 4, 2008, 05:41 PM
I bought my ArmaLite AR-10 in N.J. and it's legal. Great gun.


November 4, 2008, 06:05 PM
Thanks everyone, a lot of good info. I will be visiting 3 gun shops this weekend, Rays , the NJ Firearms Guild and Zeus in southern jersey.

I will also look at other manufacturers online and see what they have.

thanks again

Highland Ranger
November 5, 2008, 08:31 AM
I bought bushy (.223) and saiga (.308) at Meltzer's in Garfield. Good selection and prices for a small shop and much nicer guys behind the counter than Ray's. Ray's is definitely hit or miss.

November 6, 2008, 01:42 PM
If you're heading all the way down to Zeus (overpriced, IMO) you should try Tips Hardware in West Creek (GSP Tuckerton exit 58, then Rt. 9 N) They carry Bushmaster, I bought the Bushmaster M4 Type "Post Ban" Carbine with the A3 flattop for about $900. Great service, if they don't have it in stock, they will have it for you within a couple of days.

November 6, 2008, 04:25 PM
thanks guys. Ammoeater, I agree with you on Zues' prices.
I will also check out Tips and Meltzers.

Just added a Rem 700 to the list, YAY!

November 6, 2008, 10:28 PM
Isn't it REALLY messed up for the NJ DoCJ to define what "substantially identical" means? They're supposed to enforce laws, not interpret or create them, that's the job of the court.

November 7, 2008, 06:56 AM
I hear ya Crunker. Alaska's looking real good right now. Time to do some research. Maybe Palin could use a butler or a gardner (with a Kimber SIS on his hip)lol

Highland Ranger
November 11, 2008, 04:32 PM
I followed my own advice and went to Meltzers - they are completely wiped out of AR's and were saying that their distributor was wiped out last week. You can put your name on a list and maybe get a shot at the few they expect to dribble in over the next few months.

Prices will start north of $1000 for even the most basic models.

If you want to order one from DPMS, it is at least a 7 month wait.

They still had Saiga's in 308, 223 and 7.62 but I think only one or two of each left - and that's only because most people don't know what they are - a NJ friendly Russian made AK for all intents and purposes.

The plain stock versions are about $370 ($70 more than I paid 2 years ago) with the skeleton stock versions around $450. Good rifle and still a good deal at those prices in NJ, in this climate.

My guess is, if you don't go this week, they will be out of everything, and it will be waiting list only in the very near future.

Good luck . . . . .

November 30, 2008, 10:41 PM
I know they are out there. I stumbled accross a website that had them. Polymers. Anyone? Help?


December 1, 2008, 07:21 AM
Tom488 posted the site

They seem to be sold out of all colors at the moment, they appear to be retrofitted PMags at $20 per.

January 19, 2009, 08:22 PM
Hi Guys, I'm new here and this is my first post. I just bought a used Bushmaster XM-15 E2S from a friend of mine that had 3 AR's. He knew I was getting frustrated at not being able to find one from any of my dealers. And like someone else mentioned it was going to be at least 8-10 months before they started to get inventory. The AR I bought does not have any kind of suppressor or muzzle brake on it. Is it legal in Jersey to have one IF it is welded on?? Reason I ask is I will be looking into a new upper for mine because it does not have the removable handle/sight. I'd like a flat top so I can mount an optic.

Thanks much and I think Im gonna like it here. Seems like there is a lot of good info to be found.

January 19, 2009, 11:04 PM
If the barrel is threaded it has to have a "permanently fixed" muzzle brake, can't be a flash hider.

The permanent fixing is typically welding, silver solder or blind pinning. Sufficient so that you can't just fracture twist it off.

If the barrel is NOT threaded then you can leave it alone you do not have to add anything to it.

Suppressors for non LEO's are not legal in NJ assuming you are talking about a sound suppresor.

January 20, 2009, 07:41 AM
Reason I ask is I will be looking into a new upper for mine because it does not have the removable handle/sight. I'd like a flat top so I can mount an optic.
It would be cheaper if you just bought a new stripped upper A3-style receiver, and just swapped your barrel/etc. on to it. Even if you had to buy a barrel wrench ($20), action block ($35), and a set of punches ($10), you're still looking at around $260 or so, vs. maybe $600+

January 21, 2009, 09:51 AM
A little more historical/legal background:

NJ's AWB was pretty much the first in the nation. As such, the language was experimental, but it did serve as the model for the Federal AWB that followed in short order.

The language bans certain firearms (through a mechanism of mandatory registration and a closed registry) in three ways: by name (Hence the explicit prohibition of "AR-15", "CAR-15", etc), by certain evil feature and/or a count of evil features, and by what they'd hoped would be the catchall, the "substantially similar" language.

The "substantially similiar" language was struck down as being unconstitutionally vague in a lawsuit faught by famous NJ gunlawyer, Evan Nappen. The essence of the ruling was that since a post ban gun didn't have the same evil features as a banned gun (ie: a bayo mount, etc) it couldn't function the same way, or in the same capacity, and therefore, was NOT "substantially similar". The state AG issued the "Name and evil feature" clarifying statement, so as to close off the second prong of the argument from being pursued in subsequent litigation which held that since an ordinary man couldn't determine for himself whether he was in violation or not, the whole thing ought to be thrown out.

If you follow the progression of state AWBs, you'll see that the statutory language was adapted after observing the practical effects in NJ, so as to include more scary looking guns, and not present the "loopholes" that exist in the NJ statutes.

The way in which this is achieved is instructive. Typically, fewer evil features are allowed, especially detachable mags and pistol grips, "similarity" language is beefed up to be more inclusive, and in some cases, the determination of what is and isn't an evil assault weapon is delegated to a state agency, typically the AG, who is given wide latitude in the matter.

June 24, 2009, 02:33 AM
what a difference a few months make. now most places cant give away ar's. =)

June 24, 2009, 06:42 PM
HI guys, I bought a bushmaster ar-15 back in Jan when the craze was at its highest, and all of the MD dealers where I live said they didn't have any, and if they did they wanted 1500$ et. etc so I just went to a gun show. Bought one there that wasn't considered regulated, but was considered a long gun, it was a bushmaster named brand unit, and was only $1250 brand new with a case and the paperwork all done up nice and legal. If the local dealers don't have ample stock, try the shows, because the distributors that work the shows are the ones who "bought them all up" and they'll usually have more selection, and will cut better deals.

Now that being said, we should all support out local businessmen as much as possible, and I have waited for guns and parts and paid more for them just to do business locally, so if you decide to do that I respect it. But if you're in a hurry, the larger volume guys that pull into shows with a couple hudred guns in a box truck may be your bet.

Good luck, shoot safely, and I pray God Bless.

legal Forum
July 9, 2009, 08:53 AM
Over the years the United States has sent many of its fine young men & women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return, is enough to bury those that did not return. COLIN POWELL.

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