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

Steve Tawa
March 18, 2019 - 2:06 pm
N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announces the first “ghost gun” seizures and arrests, under a new law banning untraceable weapons.

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — The first arrests under a New Jersey law criminalizing "ghost guns" happened in Camden County. It is now illegal to build or sell guns from online kits.

N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says "ghost guns" are not registered and do not have serial numbers.

Grewal says they took down a narcotics and weapons trafficking ring that was dealing in "ghost gun" AR-15 assault rifles.

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"They offer criminials, convicted felons, terrorists, domestic abusers, people who we all agree shouldn't own firearms, the ability to access them," he said.

Grewal said 12 men in Camden County have been taken in for their alleged involvement in a criminal network that trafficked untraceable assault rifles assembled from online kits. Ten are charged with distributing narcotics. Four of the men are charged with conspiring to sell six untraceable AR-15 assault rifles. 

"It shows that the threat of ghost guns to public safety and law enforcment safety is not abstract. It's real," he said.

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The new-age guns were designed to evade detection. Such an unregistered gun could be created with plastic parts by anyone with a computer and access to a 3D printer. Even before Governor Murphy signed the law, Grewal had sent cease-and-desist letters to companies that produced blueprints for ghost guns.

"It highlights the black market that exists among criminals for these untraceable guns," he said.

The new law criminalizes the building, possession or sale of parts to make ghost guns because of their lack of serial numbers that makes them untraceable.

The year-long investigation began with a look into a Lindenwold cocaine-distribution operation. It expanded when detectives learned that some members were allegedly trafficking ghost gun assault rifles. Investigators captured defendants discussing a delayed gun sale. Due to the new stricter law in N.J., authorities intercepted parts two defendants had shipped to Bensalem, Pa.