On December 12, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that he had filed two separate lawsuits under a law enacted in July 2022 that allows the state’s attorney general to sue “gun industry members that contribute to a public nuisance in New Jersey through unlawful or unreasonable conduct, or that fail to maintain reasonable controls, relating to their sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing, or marketing of gun-related products.”
The first, a civil complaint against JSD Supply and Eagle Shows, which are both owned by Jordan Vinroe, who was not a named party in the lawsuit, alleges that the companies deliberately market and sell the parts and kits for building unserialized, and thus untraceable, ghost guns at gun shows near the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border, making them “readily accessible to New Jersey residents,” even though such weapons are illegal in New Jersey.
(To learn more about the New Jersey Attorney General’s other public-nuisance lawsuit related to firearms, click here.)
EASY-To-Build GHOST GUNS
JSD Supply sells ghost gun parts and kits online and at gun shows. According to the complaint, JSD Supply’s website claims, “Thanks to our products, you can put together a firearm that is identical to options available straight from the manufacturer. The custom handgun you build from our…kit looks, feels and operates like any other gun. But they don’t require a background check or serial number.” Vinroe has also stated that his company’s guns are “super easy to put together.”
In December 2021, Vinroe purchased Eagle Shows, the largest gun show operator in Pennsylvania, from its previous owner, who had prohibited ghost gun parts and kits from being sold at his gun shows. Days after completing the sale, Eagle Shows held a gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania — 30 miles from Camden, New Jersey — that once again promoted ghost gun kits. As one gun media outlet described it, “Not only were unfinished frame and receiver kits sold once again everywhere at the gun show, but JSD Supply hosted educational classes that helped buyers…finish their kits into fully functional firearms.”
According to the complaint, Vinroe “used his control of Eagle to position JSD booths advantageously at Eagle Gun Shows and set favorable policies for Ghost Gun product sales, marketing, and instruction.” Further, Eagle allegedly “concentrated its shows in the eastern part of Pennsylvania where they are accessible to New Jersey customers” — despite its headquarters being in western Pennsylvania, near Ohio — “and actively advertise[s] in New Jersey to attract New Jersey residents to those shows.” As examples, the complaint includes photos of billboards for Eagle gun shows placed along the New Jersey Turnpike and other roads in that state.
In an interview cited in the complaint, Vinroe said that business is “really good…when you get closer to places that are very restrictive, so a New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Washington State. Anywhere where their gun laws are very strict, is where you see people wanting products the most.”
The complaint alleges that, despite knowing ghost gun kits are illegal in New Jersey, Eagle Shows and JSD Supply do not require salespeople to ask purchasers about their state of residence or show a state ID card, verify that customers are legally allowed to possess firearms in New Jersey, or warn customers that ghost gun kits are illegal in New Jersey. Instead, the gun sellers “routinely accept cash, leaving no paper trail for the transaction.”
The complaint goes on to detail how police have arrested “numerous individuals” returning to New Jersey from Eagle gun shows with ghost gun parts and kits. “Yet JSD or another Eagle vendor still sold these persons multiple Ghost Gun Kits — a telltale indicator of a purchaser’s intent to traffic. In several cases, [the] purchasers or purchasers’ co-conspirators had prior criminal records that disqualified them from gun purchase[s] or possession.”