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June 7, 2021 | Number of The Day
Untraceable ‘ghost guns’ involved in new NJ gun trafficking and illegal possession cases

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law in 2018 banning so-called ghost guns. These are weapons that are not registered, are sold without background checks and do not have serial numbers, making them difficult to trace. They’re often sold in do-it-yourself kits.

On Thursday, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced 35 indictments for illegal gun trafficking and/or possession of illicit weapons. Notably, the haul included 10 ghost guns. Grewal said, “Assault rifles have long been a weapon of choice for gangs and drug dealers, and more recently there has been an alarming increase in untraceable ghost guns, which often are seized by police after they have been used in a shooting.” Col. Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, underlined the issue regarding ghost guns. He said, “We will continue to work with our partners to combat not only the trafficking of illegal weapons, but to also disrupt the assembly and sale of ghost guns both in New Jersey and across the country.”

Eighty-one defendants are charged in the indictments; most face weapons offences in connection with 96 illegal guns, including 16 assault rifles and one machine gun. Most of the guns were bought in states other than New Jersey. Pennsylvania was the source of at least 18 guns and South Carolina, 12. Among other states where the guns originated were Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

New Jersey has among the strongest gun-control laws in the U.S. A glance at the law enforcement agencies listed by the attorney general’s office as involved in these investigations is a reminder of the extent of the gun problem:

  • New Jersey State Police
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force
  • S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
  • S. Drug Enforcement Administration
  • S. Homeland Security Investigations
  • S. Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force
  • S. Postal Inspection Service
  • S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General
  • Atlantic City Police Department
  • Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Atlantic City Task Force
  • Barnegat Township Police Department
  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Bensalem Township (Pa.) Police Department
  • Camden County Police Department
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cliffside Park Police Department
  • Egg Harbor Township Police Department
  • Ewing Police Department
  • Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Gloucester Township Police Department
  • Hamilton Township (Mercer County) Police Division
  • Harrison Police Department
  • Hasbrouck Heights Police Department
  • Howell Township Police Department
  • Hudson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Irvington Police Department
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Middletown Township Police Department
  • Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Moorestown Police Department
  • Morris County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Morris County Sheriff’s Office
  • Morris Plains Police Department
  • Nassau County (NY) District Attorney’s Office
  • Neptune City Police Department
  • Neptune Township Police Department
  • Newark Police Department
  • Nutley Police Department
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ocean County Sheriff’s Department
  • Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Passaic County Sheriff’s Office
  • Paterson Police Department
  • Philadelphia Police Department
  • Ramsey Police Department
  • South Toms River Police Department
  • Toms River Police Department
  • Trenton Police Department
  • Voorhees Township Police Department
  • Wall Township Police Department
  • Winslow Township Police Department