New Jersey Man Indicted For Manufacturing, Selling 'Ghost Guns'

In January, law enforcement arrested 56-year-old New Jersey man George Carleton for selling a ghost gun in Hammonton, NJ. When police raided his home, they found an arsenal of illegal weapons. In total, law enforcement discovered 17 more ghost guns, over a dozen unregistered firearms, and the tools necessary for Carleton to manufacture even more weapons for sale.

Now, an Atlantic County Grand Jury has given a 22 count indictment.

From Press of Atlantic City:

On April 10, Atlantic County Grand Jury returned a 22-count indictment against Gregory Carleton, 56, of Evesham Township, for unlawfully manufacturing and selling “ghost guns” which are illegally-manufactured guns with no serial number.

Carleton was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun without a permit, fourth-degree unlawful manufacture of a gun or other weapon and fourth-degree sale of a gun or other weapon. Following the search of the vehicle, Carleton was charged with an additional four counts: two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun without a permit and two counts of fourth-degree unlawful manufacture of a gun or other weapon.

Following the April 10 indictment, Carleton is being held in the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

Bearing Arms has covered stories concerning ghost guns in the past, as Democratic politicians in various states look to restrict access to them. Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) called for the removal of two websites that teach people how to manufacture the weapons and provide the necessary materials to do so. And a Philadelphia television station freaked out when they learned people can build their own firearms. In November, Bearing Arms also wrote about the concerns of law enforcement that an increase in gun regulations could lead to more criminals making firearms.

The problem, in this case, wasn’t that Carleton was making ghost guns, it was that he was selling them and was in possession of 14 other firearms that had the serial numbers removed.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, one needs a license for “sale or distribution.”

…a license is not required to make a firearm solely for personal use. However, a license is required to manufacture firearms for sale or distribution. The law prohibits a person from assembling a non–sporting semiautomatic rifle or shotgun from 10 or more imported parts, as well as firearms that cannot be detected by metal detectors or x-ray machines. In addition, the making of an NFA firearm requires a tax payment and advance approval by ATF.

While the report does not state whether the gun sold went to an officer in an undercover sting or was found to have gone to a convicted felon, one would think that, because Carleton was already breaking the law, he didn’t care who purchased the weapons he had made. Though law-abiding gun owners making ghost guns isn’t a problem, some states require gun owners to meet specific requirements when they do so. Unfortunately, there are people out there willing to abuse their ability to create a weapon of self-defense by selling it to others who should not be in possession of a firearm. If this were to become the new norm, one could fully expect a crackdown on ghost guns and the private manufacturing of weapons by politicians at the state and federal level. The question remains, though: what action will lawmakers have to take?

The article was updated with information from the ATF detailing the law as it pertains to privately manufacturing firearms.

May 16, 2021 11:30 AM ET
May 16, 2021 8:30 AM ET