NJ sues gun company for allegedly selling ghost guns online to undercover agent

David Madden
March 22, 2019 - 2:08 pm
ghost guns

New Jersey Attorney General's Office

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NEWARK, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey filed criminal charges Monday against a dozen people in connection with a drug ring in Camden County that allegedly dealt in distributing so-called ghost guns. 

Now, the state is filing a civil suit against a California firm they contend is breaking the law by selling those weapons online.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a measure in November making it illegal to build or buy a ghost gun in New Jersey. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal alerted manufacturers, and he said most are complying with the law. 

Related: NJ makes first arrests using new law banning untraceable 'ghost guns'

But an undercover buyer got one firm to send a kit for an AR-15-style rifle.

“We’re bringing a civil enforcement action against US Patriot Armory, a ghost gun company based in California, for violating New Jersey’s consumer protection laws,” Grewal announced at a news conference Friday in Newark. “We’re seeking the maximum civil penalties available, and we’re seeking an order from the court ordering the company to stop making sales into New Jersey.”

Grewal noted this action is a first for any state in the country. These weapons are virtually untraceable and can be manufactured at home with a 3-D printer.

“No one needs an untraceable weapon, and no one should get a firearm without going through a background check process,” he added.

The suit, filed in Essex County Superior Court, seeks an order enforcing the ban and requiring the company to put a warning on its website making it clear that purchasing ghost guns in New Jersey is a crime.

Activists in the gun control effort were quick to praise New Jersey for the action. Adam Skaggs, chief counsel and policy director for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, commented in a press release: “The lawsuit filed today sends a powerful signal that no one is above the law and no company can line its pockets by sacrificing the safety of our families and communities.”

KYW Newsradio reached out to US Patriot Armory for comment on the suit. They have yet to respond.