Would Help Prevent Untraceable Gun Parts for Homemade Weapons
TRENTON – Legislation authored by Senator Joe Cryan, D-Union, and Senator Nick Scutari, D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union, that would ban “ghost guns” that are assembled with untraceable gun components was approved by the Senate today. Part of the package of gun safety measures advancing in the Senate, the legislation, S-2465, aims to stop the illegal assembly of firearms from parts with no serial numbers or other identifying characteristics.
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 Cryan.
“This is a do-it-yourself way to make dangerous firearms untraceable and to try to keep them hidden from detection,” said Senator Cryan, the former Sheriff of Union County. “That’s why they’re called ‘ghost guns.’ They are especially dangerous in the hands of felons, people with mental illnesses or those who have been convicted of domestic violence.”
There have been a growing number of cases involving homemade guns, some of which were high-profile active shootings, Senator Scutari noted. A gunman killed his wife and four others in a rampage in Northern California last year with a ghost gun that allowed him to find an easy way around a court order prohibiting him from having guns and, in Baltimore, a man used a homemade AR-15-style rifle to shoot at four police officers in July 2016.
“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. “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 vote was 37-0.