TRENTON, NJ (NWN). A New Jersey resident faces criminal charges after purchasing more than a dozen ghost or untraceable weapon kits at an exhibition in Pennsylvania, senior law enforcement officers from both states said Friday.
Acting NJ Attorney General Andrew Brooke and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said William Pillus of Lincoln Park, NJ was charged this week on five counts, including illegal possession of second-degree assault weapons, procurement of parts for the manufacture of third-degree firearms, untraceable firearms, possession of third-degree firearms without a serial number, and two cases of fourth-degree possession of a large-capacity ammunition magazine.
His girlfriend was also charged with possession of a fourth-degree high-capacity store.
Ghost Weapons are firearms without serial numbers that cannot be tracked by the authorities.
A message requesting comment was left to a lawyer identified as Pillus’ attorney.
Attorneys general announced the arrest as suppressing ghost weapons, which is prohibited by law in New Jersey. Pennsylvania judge suspended in 2020 on the policy of the state police that urges retailers to call the state background check system, rather than just use an online system to sell ghost weapons.
“Our message to the arms dealers is clear: if you bring illegal firearms into our state, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Brooke said. “We are committed to stopping the flow of illegal firearms into New Jersey, especially the untracked ghost pistols, which are quickly becoming a favorite of criminals.”
Shapiro, running for governor of Pennsylvania. the following year, at a press conference, they asked why Pennsylvania lawmakers didn’t take measures as harsh as New Jersey.
“This case also highlights the need for new laws, both at the federal level and especially in Pennsylvania, to stop the flow of ghost weapons into the hands of people who want to harm our communities,” he said.
Pillus’ case stems from his September visit to an arms exhibition in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he bought 13 sets of pistols, officials said. Authorities said they tracked him down to his residence in Morris County, New Jersey, where they also confiscated an AR-15 style rifle without serial numbers, 13 sets of 9mm pistols, two 30-round AR-15 magazines. as well as a handwritten assembly of the pistol. instructions and tools for assembling firearms, among others.
Shapiro believes that the charges in this case relate to cooperation between law enforcement agencies in both states.
New Jersey has tightened its already stringent gun laws under Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who is running for re-election this year.
He promised more gun safety laws in case of re-election. Among the laws signed by Murphy in his first term include reducing the size of stores from 15 to 10 rounds, as well as a measure under which it is a crime to transport, ship, sell or dispose of ghost weapons in the state.
The indictment followed a 2020 interstate partnership to end interstate arms trafficking and solve firearms crimes known as the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Arms Trafficking Initiative.
It also happened just weeks after the governors of the four northeastern states – Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – have agreed to share firearms crime data for law enforcement use.