NJ Arrest Shows How Easy "Ghost Gun" Kits Are To Transport

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

A lot of states are kind of losing their minds over “ghost guns.” The idea that American citizens can build their own firearms using kits to make it easier seems to be a bridge too far for some of our most vehemently anti-Second Amendment lawmakers.

As a result, some states have banned such kits. They’re convinced banning them will have some kind of appreciable impact on violent crime in these states.

Of course, a recent arrest in New Jersey shows just how easy it is to get around the law.

Police have seized more a dozen handgun kits they said were illegally driven from Pennsylvania into New Jersey, highlighting the spread of “ghost guns” across state lines amid a spike in shootings.

Officials accused William R. Pillus of buying the 13 kits at a gun show in Allentown on Sept. 11.

The 23-year-old from Lincoln Park then allegedly drove across the river to a Home Depot in Totowa. He was stopped soon after, police said.

A search of both his vehicle and his home yielded the kits, a sizable amount of ammunition and an “AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle” without a serial number, officials said.

Pillus was indicted Monday and faces five gun charges, including second-degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm and third-degree purchasing firearm parts to manufacture untraceable firearms, according to authorities.

His 21-year-old girlfriend, Makenna Sweeney, of Boonton, was with him on the trip and faces a fourth-degree charge for possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine, officials said.

Wow. Without those 13 kits, violent crime in New Jersey will cease in no time flat.

Or, you know, not.

After all, those kits may well have been used to build guns for people who simply had no interest in using them for criminal activity. Sure, it’s illegal in the state to buy those kits, but at some point, you can push an otherwise law-abiding citizen too far. For some, they’ll assemble these guns and then do absolutely nothing with them, saving these “ghost guns” for a rainy day.

Or they could have all gone to criminals. We simply don’t know.

What we do know, though, is that thousands of those kits were sold legally in New Jersey and only a small number of them have turned up at crime scenes comparatively. In other words, no one bothers to look at percentages before opting to just completely and totally freak out.

Now, with them illegal, only those who opt to ignore the law are building them. That means the odds of these being used in crimes becomes higher simply because the kind of people to ignore the laws about the kits are also usually the type of people who will ignore other laws.

Yet Pillus is accused of just driving the “ghost gun” kits across state lines.

That’s really all it takes to violate these laws. It’s not particularly difficult to do. An individual can establish a P.O. Box in one state while living in another, then buy “ghost gun” kits and just come over the state line to pick them up when they’re delivered. Others can make contact with friends living in other states, get them to buy the kits, then mail them to them.

There are so many ways to circumvent the laws in places like New Jersey that it’s not even funny.

In fact, it’s so easy that such laws are less than useless. States like New Jersey would be better served by trying to circumvent people becoming criminals rather than passing new and more pathetic forms of gun control. That might actually reduce their violent crime rates in the long run.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET