Aug 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ghost gun parts maker barred from selling to D.C. residents

Polymer80 frames are seen at a store in El Cajon, California, on April 26, 2021. Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a landmark ruling, Washington, D.C. won a permanent injunction Wednesday against Polymer80 after a judge ruled the company was illegally selling ghost gun parts in the city and falsely telling consumers it was legal.

Driving the news: Polymer80, one of the largest manufacturers of ghost guns in the U.S., was permanently barred from selling unserialized, untraceable firearms to D.C. residents.

  • The company was also ordered to pay more than $4 million in penalties for making false and misleading claims about the legality of its products, the D.C. Attorney General's Office announced.

Background: The AG filed a suit against Polymer80 in 2020, alleging the company was illegally advertising and selling untraceable firearms to D.C. consumers.

  • The AG sought a preliminary injunction soon after filing the case, causing Polymer80 to cease selling weapons in the state in July 2020.
  • The company sells gun kits and parts that come without serial numbers or other identification numbers and can be assembled into fully functional, untraceable firearms, including semi-automatic AR-15 rifles.

The big picture: The lawsuit is similar to ones filed against Polymer80 in Los Angeles and Baltimore.

  • Polymer80's headquarters in Nevada were raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2020, but the agency has been quiet about its investigation since, Axios' Bryan McBournie noted.

What they're saying: “This judgment ... will help slow the flow of deadly untraceable ghost guns into our community,” D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said in a written statement, adding that the district continues to face an epidemic of gun violence.

  • "The more than $4 million in penalties imposed by the court in this case should send a strong message to firearm manufacturers, distributors, and dealers across the country: you cannot sell illegal guns to DC residents," the attorney general added.
  • Polymer80 did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

By the numbers: In 2021, some 20,000 suspected ghost guns were recovered in criminal investigations throughout the U.S. — that's a tenfold increase in just five years, according to government data.

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