Following the latest mass shooting incident at a Thousand Oaks, California dance club this week that claimed 12 lives, including a law enforcement officer who responded to the scene, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation on Thursday to make it illegal to sell, manufacture or purchase an untraceable “ghost gun."

The law is considered the toughest of its kind in the nation.

During a news conference and bill signing ceremony in Trenton, Murphy said ghost guns that can be purchased in pieces online for home assembly, made by someone at home or produced by a 3 D printer, have no serial number, so they are cannot be traced.

Bill Castner, appointed by Murphy as New Jersey’s senior advisor on firearms, said these types of guns make it hard for police to trace them to crimes and their parts can pass through metal detectors.

He noted what is perhaps most alarming is anyone can get a ghost gun.

“So you could have felons, fugitives, minors, domestic violence offenders, the mentally unstable, terrorists all purchase firearms because these downloadable, destruction devices are unregulated," Castner said.

He said this new law prohibiting ghost guns is important because people are able to go on the internet and purchase an assault gun in pieces that can then be assembled in their home with “no background check, no precautions — this is really the Wild West of firearms.”

Castner also pointed out New Jersey has among the strongest gun violence prevention laws in the nation “and not coincidentally we have among the lowest per capita gun violence deaths in the country, this is not complicated.”

State Sen. Joseph Cryan, D-Union, a prime sponsor of the ghost gun legislation, said some gun extremists may believe this new law violates their right to have access to guns but “the safety of the people in New Jersey and the safety of the people around the country is more important than the particular interpretation of an amendment.”

Violators face up to five years in prison.

Murphy said the state can have "common sense gun safety laws [...] and still respect the 2nd Amendment."

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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