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Murphy signs bill barring ‘ghost guns’ into law in NJ


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Phil Murphy signed a measure Thursday barring the purchase of firearms parts used to make untraceable weapons, sometimes called “ghost guns.”

Murphy, a Democrat, signed the bill alongside Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and lawmakers.

“I am proud to sign a bill into law that will continue making our communities, families, and brave men and women of law enforcement safer,” Murphy said in a statement.

It’s the latest gun-control measure enacted by the Democrat-led Legislature and governor since he took office in January.

Murphy signed a half-dozen bills in June aimed at tightening already strict gun laws, among them a restriction on magazine size and a red-flag law that permits firearm restraining orders.

He also pledged recently to pursue a new round of what he calls “common-sense” gun laws. He outlined his intentions to pursue legislation to halt the flow of illegal guns into New Jersey from other states, as well as legislation on smart guns, or weapons that can be fired only by an authorized user. But he has not so far detailed those proposals.

It is already unlawful to make a handgun, rifle or shotgun without a license, and manufacturing a machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, or assault firearm is also illegal.

The new law bars the purchase of separate parts or kits that could be used to manufacture a firearm not traceable by law enforcement. Lawmakers say the measure will “arm our court system” with the ability to block criminals from using technology to make weapons.

The legislation also specifically seeks to bar 3-D printable guns and their components from being created in the state.

In June, Grewal asked some firearms companies to stop marketing and selling so-called ghost guns in the state. He didn’t at the time name the companies.

The legislation led 2nd Amendment rights groups to criticize Murphy and lawmakers for, in their words, simply trying to capture headlines.

“This legislation targets hardware instead of criminals and accordingly makes no one any safer, but does provide plenty of headlines for lawmakers trying to appear like they are doing something about gun violence,” said Scott Bach, the executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association.

But groups like the Giffords, which was founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, praised the new law. David Pucino, a Giffords staff attorney, called New Jersey a “national leader” in gun-safety legislation. He said in a statement the new law closes a loophole that could have allowed 3-D weapons to be printed.