Both the Division of Criminal Justice and
the State Police Firearms Unit have received a number of inquiries
whether the Colt Match Target Rifle and the Springfield M1A
are considered assault firearms under New Jersey law.
Based on our review of the law and the Attorney General guidelines,
we conclude that neither of the two firearms are prohibited
under State law.
The Colt Match Target Rifle, based on the manufacturers
specifications, is a new line of rifles and is not part of
the AR-15 series, and thus, is not prohibited under N.J.S.A.2
Although this new rifle, may resemble the Colt AR-15, there
have been substantial changes to the firearm, including the
receiver which is not identical to an AR-15 receiver.
In addition, because of changes in the configuration of the
firearm, the Colt Match Target Rifle is not substantially
identical to a prohibited firearm and prohibited under this
See N.J.S.A.2C:39-1w(2) and Attorney Generals Guidelines
Regarding the Substantially Identical Provision
in the States Assault Firearms Laws dated August 19,
The Springfield M1A is not one of the enumerated firearms
which are specifically prohibited under the States assault
firearms laws. It has been prohibited in this State as being
substantially identical to a named firearm.
However, according to the manufacturers specifications,
the M1A has been modified. The modified M1A, which became
available in 1994, would not be considered to be substantially
identical to a prohibited firearm in accordance with the statutory
provision and the Attorney Generals guidelines cited
However, earlier versions of the M1A which contains at least
two of the criteria identified in Paragraph B of the Attorney
Generals Guidelines, supra, would still be considered
to be substantially identical to a prohibited firearm and
continue to be banned under our State law.
As a result, it will be necessary to clearly distinguish the
physical characteristics or lack of physical characteristics
when making a determination regarding the M1A rifle.
Neither this clarification regarding the classification of
the Colt Match Target Rifle and the M1A Rifle, nor the guidelines
issued August 19, 1996, regarding the substantially
identical provision of the assault weapons law applies
to firearms that are specifically listed in N.J.S.A.2C:39-1w(2)
as prohibited firearms or to firearms which are banned at
types of named prohibited firearms.
If you have any questions regarding
the classification of these two firearms, please contact the:
State Police Firearms Unit at 609-882-2000
Deputy Attorney General William J. Zaorski at 609-984-2796.