Cryan-Scutari Bill Would Ban ‘Ghost Guns’
Would Stop Use of 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 a Senate committee today. Part of the seven-bill 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 ‘do it yourself’ method of assembling these ‘ghost guns’ allows the owner to avoid the laws and regulations that are meant to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves or others,” said Senator Cryan, the former Sheriff of Union County. “They are just as deadly and just as dangerous, especially in the hands of those who are prohibited from owning guns for good reasons. We need to take the actions we can to make our communities, our schools and our places of work safer from gun violence.”
There have been a growing number of cases involving homemade guns, some of which were high-profile active shootings, Senator Scutari noted. A few months ago, a gunman in Northern California, who was prohibited from having firearms because of a restraining order, made his own semiautomatic weapon at home with these gun parts and killed five people and wounded 12 before he was killed by the police
“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.
Under current state law, it is illegal to manufacture a handgun, rifle, machine gun, assault rifle or shotgun without a license. The bill would expand the prohibitions to cover the purchase of firearm parts to create a firearm without a serial number.
The bill was approved by the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee with a unanimous vote. .