TRENTON, N.J. (AP) New Jersey lawmakers on Monday advanced a measure to prohibit the purchase of firearms parts used to make untraceable weapons, or so-called ghost guns.
The Democrat-led Senate law and public safety committee approved the measure Monday. The panel is also considering a half-dozen gun-control measures that have cleared the Democrat-controlled Assembly.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has said he generally supports measures aimed at tightening the state’s already-strict gun laws.
The ghost-gun bill calls for barring the purchase of separate parts or kits that could be used to manufacture a firearm that cannot be traced by law enforcement.
“This ‘do it yourself’ method of assembling these ‘ghost guns’ allows the owner to avoid the laws and regulations that are meant to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves or others,” Democratic state Sen. Joe Cryan said in a statement.
Lawmakers said the part of the inspiration for the legislation stemmed from the 2017 case of a northern California rampage that resulted in the deaths of five people, in addition to the gunman. Authorities said they believed the two high-powered rifles were made by the gunman.
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 measure would make the purchase of firearm parts to manufacture an untraceable firearm a third-degree crime, punishable by a three- to five-year prison sentence, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Scott Bach, the executive director of the New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, which supports Second Amendment rights, said his group is still reviewing the measure and declined to comment.