N.J. sues arms dealer who shipped a "phantom gun" kit to make an AR-15 rifle, according to Murphy's AG


State authorities claim to have filed a first lawsuit against a gun retailer accused of selling a kit to assemble an AR-15 rifle to an undercover investigator in New Jersey, a few months after the Garden State banned "ghost weapons".

A lawsuit filed Friday in the Essex County Superior Court accuses a California armorer, US Patriot Armory, for ignoring a letter of termination and discontinuance sent by the state attorney general in December , a few weeks after the signing of a new law by Governor Phil Murphy. buying firearm parts for the purpose of mounting a non-serial firearm is a third-degree crime.

The lawsuit, filed against US Patriot Armory and its owner, James Tromblee, Jr., comes just days after state authorities indicted four men for illegally buying such kits. firearms to a separate corporation and having sold unregistered AR-15s – the first arrests made under the new law.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told reporters at a press conference on Friday that such "ghost gun dealers" are exploiting a "loophole" in federal and federal arms laws. fire by selling "80% Buildings" – almost complete firearms announced with instructions to complete them. .

Authorities say that firearms can not be fired when they are 80% complete; they can be sold online and mailed without background checks or other guarantees. Gun rights advocates argue that this organization is not a "loophole", but simply a way for law-abiding gun owners to buy firearms cheaply or assemble them as a hobby.

After New Jersey banned "ghost gun" purchases in November, the Grewal office sent cessation and renunciation letters to at least 16 companies that sold such kits online. A large number of them, he said, responded by informing customers on their websites that they could no longer ship their shipments to New Jersey.

That's what happened to the four men accused of buying and selling "ghost weapons" earlier this week, authorities said. Two of them were captured on a hot line, discussing the shipment of firearms to Pennsylvania to circumvent the New Jersey ban.

But Grewal told reporters on Friday that the US Patriot Armory was ignoring the state's request to ban shipments to Garden State. Authorities are now seeking a court order to prevent the company from selling "ghost gun" kits in New Jersey.

He added that an undercover investigator had ordered "all parts to make a fully operational AR-15 rifle" for $ 583.98 in February, and that the company had shipped them to a New address. Jersey "without background checks, without including a serial number and without warning that the gun we were buying was illegal in our state. "

Paul Rodriguez, director of the Attorney General's Consumer Division, told reporters that the company had made "false statements" on its website, including statements such as "Is it legal? YES."

Rodriguez said last week that an AR-15 kit had arrived at his secret address "with all the components needed to assemble this deadly and illegal weapon".

This image, included in a document filed by a court, shows the "kit" that an undercover investigator would have purchased online to allow him to assemble an AR-15 rifle in violation of New Jersey law. . "Data-size =" (min-width: 980px) 539px, (minimum width: 600px) 600px, (minimum width: 320px) 90vw, 480px

This image, included in a document filed by a court, shows the "kit" that an undercover investigator would have purchased online to allow him to assemble an AR-15 rifle in violation of New Jersey law. .

The lawsuit accuses the company of violating the Consumer Fraud Act of New Jersey by failing to inform customers that many of their products are illegal in Garden State.

A message sent by NJ Advance Media to US Patriot Armory via its website looking for comments was not immediately returned.

Starting Friday morning, the company's order page seemed to allow customers to choose New Jersey as their shipping option.

The Attorney General said that some of the other 15 gun salespeople who no longer deliver in New Jersey were advising their customers to change delivery address, claiming that gun salespeople in New Jersey the fire was not doing enough to make sure that they were not respecting state law. Grewal refused to say if his office was investigating other vendors.

The Attorney General has called on Congress to adopt a federal ban on such kits of weapons.

S.P. Sullivan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter.

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