POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Gov. Murphy signs ‘ghost gun’ ban on morning after Thousand Oaks mass shooting

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

In the wake of another mass shooting that left 13 people dead in California, today’s bill signing was kind of like a small axe trying to chop down a massive oak tree. You can’t bring it down but you can at least make a mark, and that was going to have to do today.

“Another 12 Americans whose lives have been cut short by senseless gun violence,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “At what point do we finally wake up to the reality that we remain the only advanced society that tolerates such horror on such a regular basis? At what point do we wake up to the reality that we’re the only advanced nation so awash in easy to access guns? When do we finally put two and two together?”

With the Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and state Sen. Joe Cryan with him, the governor signed the so-called ghost gun ban, which makes it unlawful to print or possess untraceable, undetectable plastic guns printed at home from files downloaded online. It was last June that Grewal sent a cease and desist letter to the companies that produced the files and went to court to stop them.

RELATED: Grewal files suit over 3D-printed ‘ghost guns’

“These folks know that they can’t sell these weapons, weapons like assault weapons into New Jersey,” said Grewal, “so instead they sell all the parts for these weapons and then provide a link to a video that shows you how to build them at home, so they sell you weapons that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy in the Garden State. And they sell you these weapons without conducting any background checks. And they sell you these weapons without any serial numbers on them, so we can’t trace them.”

It’s already illegal to make your own gun in Jersey, that includes hand guns, rifles or so-called assault weapons. The bill tightens a loophole by prohibiting the the purchase of any combination of parts to build a firearm without a serial number. Sen. Joe Cryan was a main sponsor.

“For those of you who have walked through an airport scanner or any building where you felt safer because you were scanned, imagine the person behind you has a weapon that is untraceable, and that’s what we’re talking about here,” he said. “This affects every individual in the state of New Jersey, if not the country.”

Penalties for violating the law, which becomes effective immediately, include three to five years in jail, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. Critics say the files are still easily available on the Internet if you know where to look and that it’s unlikely that one of these guns could be used to commit a Thousand Oaks type massacre. But, in the face of more unexplainable violence, it can feel good to take a good hard swing, even with a small axe.