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Transportation and Use of Hollow Point Ammunition by Sportsmen

Provided certain conditions are met, a sportsman may transport and use hollow point ammunition. There are no restrictions preventing a sportsman from keeping such ammunition at his home.

N.J.S.A 2C:39-3f(1) limits the possession of hollow nose ammunition. However, there is a general exception that allows for the purchase of this ammunition but restricts the possession of it to specified locations. This exception provides that:

(2) Nothing is sub section f (1) shall be construed to prevent a person from keeping such ammunition at his dwelling, premises or other land owned or possessed by him, or from carrying such ammunition from the place of purchase to said dwelling or land . . . [N.J.S.A 26:39-3g (2)].

Thus a person may purchase this ammunition and keep it within the confines of his property. Sub section f (1) further exempts from the prohibited possession of hollow nose ammunition "persons engaged in activities pursuant to N.J.S.A 2C:39-6f. . . ."
N.J.S.A 26:39-3f. (1).

Activities contained in N.J.S.A 26:39-6f. can be broken down as follows:

    1. A member of a rifle or pistol club organized under rules of the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and which filed its charter with the State Police;
    2. A person engaged in hunting or target practice with a firearm legal for hunting in this State;
    3. A person going directly to a target range, and;
    4. A person going directly to an authorized place for "practice, match, target, trap or skeet shooting exhibitions."

As with other ammunition and firearms, a sportsman would have to comply with the provisions of N.J.S.A 2C:39-6f and g when transporting hollow nose ammunition to a target range. The ammunition should be stored in a closed and fastened container or locked in the trunk of the motor vehicle in which it is being transported. The course of travel should be as direct as possible when going to and leaving from the target range with "only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances." N.J.S.A 2C:39-6g.

If the sportsman's club member plans to hunt with a rifle and use hollow nose ammunition in a state where this is permitted, he must comply with the provisions of U.S.C.A. 926A and N.J.S.A 2C:39-6(f) and (6)(g), which is consistent with the federal law, in transporting the firearm and ammunition. The firearm should be unloaded and neither the firearm nor the ammunition should be readily accessible from the passenger compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk, the firearm and the ammunition should be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or the console. 18 U.S.C.A. 926A.

In addition, the sportsman should have a valid hunting license in his possession from the state in which he plans to hunt and should be familiar with that state's gun laws. N.J.S.A 2C:39-6(f)(2) requires a person hunting in this State to have a valid hunting license in his possession while traveling to or from the hunting area. Hunting with hollow nose ammunition is permitted in New Jersey. In the case of a New Jersey resident traveling to another state to hunt, it logically would follow that the hunting license would be from the state where the hunter is going. Although the federal statute does not require possession of a hunting license, it does require that the person transporting the firearm be going to a state where possession of that object is lawful. A valid hunting license from that state effectively supplies the proof.

These conditions for use and transport of hollow nose ammunition are consistent with the legislative intent to restrict the use of such ammunition to a limited number of people. It is well established that in construing a statute exceptions are to be "strictly but reasonably construed, consistent with the manifest reason and purpose of the law." Service Armament Co. v. Hyland, 70 N.J. 550, 558-559 (1976). The State Supreme Court has "characterized the Gun Control Law as 'highly purposed and conscientiously designed toward preventing criminal and other unfit elements from acquiring firearms while enabling the fit elements of society to obtain them with minimal burdens.'" Id. at 559.

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