New York Suing Dangerous 'Ghost Guns' Manufacturers, AG and Adams Say

Originally published in patch.com on June 29, 2022.

The suits were brought using the new ban on ghost guns that Senator Kaplan passed into law

NEW YORK, NY — New York is taking its fight against dangerous "ghost guns" flooding the streets to court.

Mayor Eric Adams and Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that they will both sue a group of manufacturers of the untraceable firearms, which are sold in parts to New Yorkers and built into firearms illegal in the city and state, according to officials.

“There should be no more immunity for gun distributors bringing harm and havoc to New York," James said. "Illegal guns do not belong on our streets or in our communities and we will use every tool necessary to root them out.”

The Attorney General's lawsuit will take aim at 10 of the nation's leading gun distributors who have sold tens of thousands of shipments to New York, she said.

Among the distributors are Brownells, 80 Percent Arms, 80 P Builder or 80P Freedom Co,lockstore, Indie Guns, Primary Arms, Arm or Ally, Rainier Arms and Rock Slide. New York City will file its own suit against five of the 10 companies, according to officials.

The suit comes after New York City undercover investigators purchased gun-making kits from manufacturers used to build semi-automatic weapons, guns with illegal extended magazines and plastic firearms that don't set off metal detectors, Adams said.

The gun-making kits also circumvent federal licensing requirements and have been sold to convicted criminals who otherwise would not have been able to buy a gun, officials said.

"With just a few clicks and a credit card, undercover investigators … were able to order the components and use them to assemble guns that are illegal under city and state law," the mayor said.

The lawsuit is the latest in the city's fight against the unmarked ghost guns, which have been used in several high-profile killings, including the slaying of a teenager in the Bronx.

Earlier this year, the mayor urged the federal government to revoke the license of Nevada-based company Polymer80, who officials say made 90 percent of the unmarked firearms confiscated by the NYPD.

The NYPD has recovered nearly twice as many of the build-at-home guns so far this year than in the same period in 2021, according to officials.

Law enforcement have pointed to the handmade ghost guns as a chief obstacle in their fight against gun violence given that they are often untraceable and easier to buy than traditional guns.

The ghost gun fight is part of Adams' focus on tamping down a surge in gun violence, which has been at the forefront of his reign since he took office at the start of the year.

His efforts have also included the revival of controversial anti-crime units, bringing more cops — and possibly gun detection devices — to the city subways and ongoing calls for state lawmakers to rollback bail reform rules.

The numbers have budged slightly. Shootings citywide have dropped 24 percent so far this month compared to last year, though they are still a far cry from pre-pandemic numbers in 2019, according to NYPD data.

That decline could be hindered by an expected spike in gun violence in the summertime, or, later down the road, the lifting of the state's extensive review process to carry a gun given the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Just last weekend, six people were shot in three separate incidents across Brooklyn, including a shooting at a Bed-Stuy cookout that hurt an 8-year-old boy.

The New York announcement comes on the heels of another sting to gun traffickers in the federal gun violence prevention bill, which was signed by President Joe Biden late last week.

The legislation includes the criminalization of trafficking of guns across state lines.