What it Means to be Charged with a Ghost Gun in New Jersey

A Ghost Gun is an Unlawful Privately Made Firearm Without a Serial Number, Obtained or Produced Outside of New Jersey Regulations.

Ghost Gun Defense Attorneys Morris County NJAdvances in technology appear almost daily. From self-checkout stations at the grocery store to apps on your phone that can do pretty much everything but cook your breakfast, Americans demand faster innovations to make their lives easier. Now more than ever, we are looking for ways to simplify the tasks required to work, live, and play. AI-produced text, photos, and speech make communication easier. In minutes, 3D printers can convert a 2-dimensional image on a screen into a multi-dimensional object. If you can dream it, a printer can transform it. Unfortunately, this technology isn’t always used for the proper reasons, and lawmakers are scrambling to catch up. Enter the ghost gun and New Jersey’s aggressive attempt to find and penalize those who buy, make, sell, or commit crimes with them to the fullest extent of the law.

A ghost gun, also known as a Privately Made Firearm (PMF), is a homemade firearm built either from a kit or using a 3-D printer and can create a fully functioning weapon. Their popularity is due to the lack of restrictions or licenses to obtain one and the absence of a serial number that authorities could trace back to the owner. It is, in essence, a free pass for those who cannot own a weapon legally because all protective measures to ensure public safety are bypassed.

What 3D Printed Gun Technology and Kits Do

3D printing technology allows users to print gun parts using the correct blueprint and polymer and assemble them at home. Gun kits, known as “buy, build, shoot” kits, can also be used to make a ghost gun for as little as a few hundred dollars, depending on the type of gun requested. Manufacturers cannot ship guns without licensing and legal requirements, so they sell unfinished frames to avoid falling under the jurisdiction of federal and state laws. There are hundreds of manufacturers across the country and internationally who sell these kits openly and refer to them as “80%” weapons because the purchaser has to build the other 20% of the gun themselves.

Nationwide Efforts to Punish Manufacturers of Untraceable Firearms

In April 2022, President Biden announced a tougher stance on ghost guns that was initially met with heavy opposition by gun owners but was supported by the Supreme Court in late 2023. The rule states that the gun kits can only be made by licensed manufacturers, and buyers must pass a background check. Serial numbers will be required on the frame of the gun kit. If gun dealers or pawn shops receive a ghost gun or already have them in their inventory, they must put serial numbers on them. Moreover, federally licensed gun sellers have to keep license records for the length of their licensure.

Types of Ghost Gun Charges in New Jersey

There are numerous specific offenses under New Jersey state law regarding ghost guns. It is against the law to buy or obtain a ghost gun or its parts without a serial number from someone other than a licensed manufacturer. Possessing or using 3D printers programmed or capable of printing firearms or firearm parts without a state license to sell firearms is also illegal. Additionally, transporting, possessing, shipping, selling, or disposing of a firearm that does not have a serial number is against the law.

Second Degree Ghost Gun Charges

Manufacturing a firearm using a three-dimensional printer without a license or making the parts of a firearm, such as a receiver, magazine, or other components, is a second degree crime. Distributing (also means: “to sell, or to manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, publish, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, display, share, advertise, offer, or make available via the Internet or by any other means, whether for pecuniary gain or not, and includes an agreement or attempt to distribute.” N.J.S.2C:39-9) to a person in New Jersey who does not have a license to manufacture firearms the digital instructions, a digital model, or code that can be used with a 3D digital printer to produce a firearm or its parts is also a second degree crime. Moreover, transporting a manufactured firearm without a serial number, as well as shipping, selling, or disposing of a ghost gun, is also a second degree crime. Second degree indictable offenses (felonies) for ghost guns carry a sentence of five to ten years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines.

Third Degree Ghost Gun Charges

The less severe type of ghost gun charge is a third degree crime for possession. Defendants charged with possession of a ghost gun, meaning a privately made firearm without a serial number, face imprisonment for anywhere from three years to five years, plus a fine not to exceed $15,000.

Untraceable Firearm Possession, Production, and Distribution Charges in NJ

Talk to a Morris County Ghost Gun Defense Lawyer Today

New Jersey comes down hard when it comes to firearms, especially ghost guns. Because they are untraceable and can be made clandestinely, they have raised concerns with lawmakers, law enforcement, and the communities of New Jersey. Ghost gun cases are complex and require exceptional legal skills in the realm of New Jersey firearms law and defense.

Our attorneys have extensive experience handling firearms-related cases in Roxbury, Rockaway, Morristown, Parsippany, Dover, Denville, Boonton, Madison, Chatham, Jefferson, Florham Park, and throughout Morris County and central New Jersey. We have the knowledge and dedication necessary to fight for your rights, build a strategic defense, and make every attempt possible to secure the most favorable outcome in your case. If you are involved in a ghost gun case or know someone who is, don’t hesitate to call us at (908) -336-5008 or ask for a free consultation through our form and we will get in touch with you shortly.

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