DC Wins $4 Million Judgment Against Ghost Gun Parts Maker

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DC has won a permanent injunction and $4 million judgment against one of the largest makers of serialized ‘ghost gun’ parts, after a judge ruled the company misinformed consumers during years since the purchase of the parts making such weapons was legal in the city.

The ruling was issued Wednesday against Nevada-based Polymer80, which sells the lower frames and receivers that can be used to make a pistol or rifle, including the parts used to make an AR-15-style rifle. Weapons built with such parts are called ghost guns because they do not contain serial numbers and therefore cannot be traced back to an original manufacturer or seller.

The number of ghost guns recovered by DC police has steadily increased from three in 2017 to 116 two years later to 439 last year, with 344 recoveries this year through July 29. A ghost gun resembling an AR-15 was used to shoot two police reserves in DC in 2019. The city passed a law in 2020 banning ghost gun kits.

DC mayor signs law banning ‘ghost gun’ kits from district

DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine sued Polymer80 in 2020, claiming it operated as an unlicensed arms dealer in the district. The lawsuit alleged that Polymer falsely asserted that it was legal for DC residents to purchase “80% drops,” which require additional machining and parts to make a complete gun, or “purchase” kits. construction shooting range” with all the necessary parts.

Racine argued that the partially manufactured firearms qualified as firearms under the city’s gun control law because they could be easily converted into fully functional weapons, and that Polymer80 violated the city’s consumer protection law by falsely claiming that the parts or kits were legal. The lawsuit found that Polymer80 sold 19 gun parts kits to DC residents.

Polymer80 responded that the parts themselves were not working firearms and that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives endorsed this view in their written opinions. Polymer80 and other gun rights advocates have also noted that making a homemade gun is not illegal, as long as it is not owned by someone who cannot legally own a gun. fired or sold without a serial number.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice submitted a new rule that would specify that “kits of parts readily convertible into firearms are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms” and would require serial numbers. This rule is expected to go into effect later this month.

Racine filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, which was largely granted by DC Superior Court Judge Ebony M. Scott. “The court finds,” Scott wrote, “that Polymer80’s handgun frames, semi-automatic receivers, and Buy, Build, Shoot kits are firearms.”

On the Polymer80 website, under its “Frequently Asked Questions” section, the answer to whether the parts are legal was “YES! The Polymer80 G150 unit is well within the defined parameters of a “receiver blank “defined by the ATF,” which the federal agency had ruled was not a firearm. But Scott said that was a misrepresentation because the G150 did not have the approval from the city and that Polymer80 did not have certification to sell weapons in the district. The judge noted that the definition of ATF was “not mandatory for the District.

Scott cited other FAQ answers as false on the Polymer80 website, including that DC residents without a firearms license could make and own firearms. Polymer80 stopped selling its products to DC residents in July 2020, the company said in court filings, and FAQ answers have been removed.

Scott issued a permanent injunction against Polymer80 selling its kits in the city, due to “Polymer80’s alarming belief that the sale of its firearms is now legal in the district”. She determined that Polymer80 should pay $1,000 or $5,000 for each day it made false claims to DC consumers, depending on DC state of law at the time, totaling $4,038,000.

“This judgment against Polymer80,” Racine said in a statement, “will help slow the flow of deadly ghost weapons not found in our community…The court-imposed fines of more than $4 million in this case are expected to send A strong message to gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers across the country: you cannot sell illegal guns to DC residents.

Lawyers and Polymer80 officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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