Gun control laws are tough in New Jersey. I’ve joked with our own John Petrelino that he should move to a more gun-friendly state like Massachusetts or Illinois after he’s talked about the gun laws in his home state. That joke’s only funny because it’s true, as John will attest.
Yet while John has a difficult time trying to deal with the state’s gun control laws, there are plenty of people who don’t.
For example, some gang members in Trenton managed to work around them just fine.
Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that 10 alleged Trenton gang members and associates were indicted today on weapons charges stemming from their arrest last year, when the New Jersey State Police led an operation to halt anticipated gang violence and seized six guns—including an illegal “ghost gun”—and outlawed large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau today obtained a state grand jury indictment charging 10 alleged members and associates of the Garfield/Cleveland/Logan or “GCL” gang and the associated “the Section” gang with second-degree weapons offenses, which carry a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison with mandatory periods of parole ineligibility.
The defendants were arrested late last year as the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit (“CSCU”).
During execution of the search warrant, authorities seized:
- Six semi-automatic handguns, including a 9mm polymer “ghost gun” and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a defaced serial number;
- Four illegal large-capacity ammunition magazines;
- Hollow-point bullets;
- Nine bricks of heroin and fentanyl— or roughly 450 individually packaged doses;
- Eight vials of suspected crack cocaine.
Ghost guns are not registered and do not have serial numbers, making them difficult to trace and making it harder for law enforcement to solve gun crimes.
“We’re working hard to stop the gun violence committed by rival gang members, who put residents and children at risk in our communities,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck.
“Through their quick response, the New Jersey State Police likely stopped a shootout in a residential section of Trenton and saved lives.
Maybe it’s just me, but it sounds like these gang members didn’t have too hard a time getting around New Jersey’s gun laws. More than that, though, your typical gang member isn’t known for being some kind of master criminal.
In other words, if they can get guns, anyone can get guns.
“But they had a ghost gun!”
They had one built from a Polymer80 frame. Out of six firearms they possessed. That’s not a huge percentage just in that house, and these are the people who are most likely to try and obtain so-called ghost guns. If they only had one, it sounds like there are plenty of other firearms to meet the criminal demand in New Jersey.
Besides, so-called ghost guns are banned in New Jersey. Surely criminals would respect such laws, now wouldn’t they?
Again, though, that was one handgun in a house with six of them. It sounds like our Trenton gang members didn’t have too hard a time finding guns. Maybe it’s time for New Jersey to come around and recognize one inescapable truth.
When it comes to gun control, the only ones really slowed down by the law are good, decent, law-abiding citizens who are trying to walk the straight and narrow path. The criminals, on the other hand, will find a way around it without much challenge. Most probably won’t even realize a new law was passed.