NEWARK, N.J. — New Jersey’s attorney general announced a lawsuit Friday against a California company that sells mail-order firearms parts that can be turned into working weapons, the first such action the state has taken since it banned so-called ghost guns last year.

The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that Apple Valley-based U.S. Patriot Armory and owner-founder James Tromblee Jr. violated New Jersey’s consumer fraud laws when it advertised and sold gun parts to an undercover investigator last month.

The company was sent a letter in December asking it to “stop advertising, offering for sale, and/or selling ‘ghost guns’ and ‘ghost gun’ parts to New Jersey residents,” according to the suit. But in February, an investigator for the attorney general’s office ordered parts for an AR-15 assault rifle. The shipment was received this month, according to the suit.

According to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, 15 other companies that received similar letters have either posted warnings to potential New Jersey buyers on their websites or removed the state from lists of available shipping addresses.

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and to stop the company from shipping parts to New Jersey.

“Ghost guns” are unregistered weapons that don’t have serial numbers. Companies sell the nearly complete weapons, often along with the parts needed to finish them, as well as training so the firearms can be completed.


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