Measure To Include 3-D Plastic Weapons Gains Final Legislative Approval
TRENTON – Legislation authored by Senator Joe Cryan and Senator Nick Scutari that would ban “ghost guns” that are assembled with untraceable gun components was approved to include plastic guns created by 3-D printers and then approved by the Senate today and sent to the governor. If enacted, it would be the strongest law in the country on ghost guns and on weapons made by 3-D printers.
The legislation, S-2465/A-3129, aims to stop the illegal assembly of firearms from parts with no serial numbers or other identifying characteristics, ban all undetectable gun components, prohibit the dissemination of programming files used by 3-D printers to make guns and expand the legal definition of “firearms” to make sure that all gun parts are regulated.
“The dark side of new technologies is that people can make firearms at home that are undetectable and untraceable,” said Senator Cryan, (D-Union) the former Sheriff of Union County. “This allows people who are a danger to others or themselves to get their hands on firearms, including felons, people with mental illnesses or those who have been convicted of domestic violence. Our laws need to be updated to keep pace with new technologies and methods that allow the unchecked spread of these lethal weapons.”
These homemade weapons can be a path to gun ownership for felons, people with mental illnesses, those who convicted of domestic violence or others prohibited from possessing firearms, said Senator Scutari.
“Anyone can make a gun at home and with untraceable parts we don’t know where the weapon came from or where it is going,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “It makes it harder to investigate gun crimes and to prevent the illegal distribution and use of firearms.”
The bill would criminalize both purchasing separately or as a kit any combination of parts from which an untraceable firearm may be readily assembled. It would make the purchase of firearm parts to illegally manufacture an untraceable firearm a third degree crime, punishable by a three-to-five year term of incarceration, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Currently, unassembled gun parts can be purchased legally with no background checks or waiting period. The bill would expand the prohibitions to cover the purchase of firearm parts to create a firearm without a serial number.
The new revisions to the bill would expand its impact in three important ways:
To explicitly prohibit the sale, manufacture and possession of any undetectable firearms or their components. This would directly address the 3-D printed plastic gun by making it a crime to have firearm that not made entirely of “detectable material.” It would prohibit any guns that cannot be detected by a metal detectors or airport scanners.
Prohibit the dissemination of data files that can program 3-D printers to make guns. This would further address the 3-D gun problem by making it a crime to disseminate data files that, when fed into a 3-D printer, create an undetectable and untraceable firearm. In addition to punishing those who actually have a 3-D printed gun, it would extend the ban to the dissemination of the necessary data files.
Add all firearm receivers to the definition of “firearm” to ensure that all firearm receivers, serialized and un-serialized, are considered firearms under New Jersey law, including background checks.
There have been a growing number of cases involving homemade guns, some of which were high-profile active shootings, Senator Cryan noted.
The bill was approved by a vote of 31-0-9.