The right to own and carry a firearm is a hot topic in the U.S. today. Over the past year, a series of new laws have gone into effect which only serve to strengthen the already hard stance New Jersey takes when it comes to gun control. However, even as the state makes it more difficult for people to legally buy a firearm, technology has advanced to the point at which you can actually assemble one yourself, either through online kits or through 3D laser printing. Known as ghost guns, these types of weapons are increasingly falling into the wrong hands, and lawmakers have enacted stiff penalties for those in possession of them. If you face charges related to homemade guns, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to avoid a possible prison sentence.
A ghost gun is an unregistered, unserialized firearm that can be manufactured at home and is generally made up of individual components that are available for legal purchase. Once assembled, it looks and fires the same as any other type of gun and can be modeled after popular firearms, such as an AR15, Glock 9mm, or .357 SIG. You can buy all the parts you need online without a background check or fingerprinting, or you can even assemble one from plastic pieces diagramed and cut through a 3D laser printer. In some cases, these guns can be made to look like other objects, such as cellphones or keychains. Being that they are made of plastic, they can even avoid being discovered by metal detectors in public places, such as schools or airports.
Sites such as GhostGun.com, which offers online kits containing all the parts needed to assemble a variety of weapons, claim to be helping defend gun owners’ rights at a time when they are increasingly being restricted. They also claim that laws such as the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 are unconstitutional and only regulate the sale and transfer of firearms, creating a loophole for homemade weapons. While their website has numerous testimonials from satisfied owners who buy and build the weapons as a hobby as well as to provide a means of self-defense, law enforcement officials are concerned about the availability and the potential for ghost guns to fall into the wrong hands.
New Laws Outlaw Homemade Firearms
Spurred by concerns about the easy availability and lack of regulations or oversight concerning ghost guns, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a new bill designed to close what he termed a ‘dangerous loophole’ in existing gun control laws. In November 2018, Senate bill 2465 was passed in the N.J. Legislature, making it a crime to manufacture, sell, or possess unregistered firearms without a serial number. The new law targets four specific types of crimes:
- Purchasing parts to make a ghost gun or any firearm without a serial number;
- Creating 3D weapons designs or distributing the designs to others;
- Manufacturing, distributing, or being in possession of modified firearms designed to look like other objects;
- Manufacturing, selling, or possessing firearms designed specifically to avoid setting off metal detectors.
All of the above are now classified as crimes in the third degree and carry a potential five year prison sentence if convicted.
Get Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney on Your Side
Law enforcement officials are taking a tough stance against ghost weapons. If you face these types of charges, get the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. on your side. Call or contact our Milltown weapons offense attorney online today and request a consultation to discuss how we can help you.