TRENTON – A new state office is being set up specifically to sue gun manufacturers and sellers.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin on Monday announced the creation of a Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Office. He says it is the nation’s first office with the mandate to bring civil enforcement actions against firearm companies.

“Make no mistake – thanks to Gov. (Phil) Murphy and the Legislature, New Jersey is once again a national leader when it comes to combatting gun violence,” Platkin said.

The office will be able to use the law enacted three weeks ago that authorizes the attorney general to bring lawsuits against gun industry members that knowingly or recklessly contribute to a public nuisance through unlawful or unreasonable conduct.

“With the establishment of this office we are sending a clear message to every participant in the firearms industry: if you violate our laws, you will pay.”

Platkin didn’t say how many people will be assigned to the new office.

The state already uses the Consumer Fraud Act to try to prevent out-of-state gun dealers from selling illegal firearm products into New Jersey over the internet. But the public nuisance lawsuits enable the state to try to take action against legal firearms that endanger the safety and health of residents.

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The Department of Law and Public Safety said New Jersey law enforcement agencies have criminally seized 2,398 firearms, including 170 illegal ghost guns, so far this year.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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