City of LA Sues Firearms Company That Allegedly Shipped Untraceable Gun Kits Everywhere

San Francisco police display untraceable firearms at a press conference in 2019.

San Francisco police display untraceable firearms at a press conference in 2019.
Photo: Haven Daley (AP)

The city of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit in California state court against Polymer80, a company it says has flooded the country with untraceable firearms by shipping customers all the components necessary to build a gun in minutes.

In a 29-page complaint, LA officials alleged that Polymer80 sold kits and components used to assemble untraceable firearms lacking serial numbers or other identification called “ghost guns,” a practice they said was “in violation of federal and state law.” The suit names Polymer80 as “by far” the largest seller of ghost guns, with its components used in 1,278 of 1,475 untraceable firearms seized by the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Firearms in 2019.

Polymer80 shipping records referred to in court documents show that the company sent 51,800 packages in the U.S. between July 2019 and October 10, 2020, including 1,490 “Buy Build Shoot” kits. City officials alleged that at least 202 of those were shipped to California and that such kits had arrived at the addresses of known felons either via Polymer80 or its resellers, and that the company lies to customers that their kits do not qualify as firearms and thus aren’t subject to federal gun laws.

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According to the Los Angeles Times , LAPD chief Michel Moore said at a press conference on Wednesday that the city had seized over 700 guns made with Polymer80 parts last year alone, including 300 in South LA, which is currently experiencing a surge in homicides and shootings.

“These are the weapons being used on other Angelenos,” Moore told reporters, adding the LAPD believed ghost guns were involved in at least 17 attempted or actual homicides in the city in 2020. “They are being used by individuals with no right or ability to legally possess a firearm.”

The ATF had previously allowed Polymer80 to sell unfinished receivers, but according to the Wall Street Journal, says it never approved the Buy Build Shoot kits, which contain all the parts necessary to build a pistol. The agency raided the firm’s facilities in Nevada in December 2020, writing in a search warrant that its investigators had determined kits met the federal legal definition of a firearm. The warrant said the company illegally manufactured and distributed guns, dodged taxes, shipped guns across state lines, and failed to carry out mandatory steps such as background checks on customers.

According to the LA lawsuit, in lieu of carrying out background checks, Polymer80 allowed customers to simply click a box affirming they weren’t a felon.

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“Untraceable ghost guns are now the emerging guns of choice across the nation,” LA City Attorney Mike Feuer told reporters at the conference, the Times reported. “Nobody who could buy a serialized gun and pass a background check would ever need a ghost gun. Yet we allege Polymer80 has made it easy for anyone, including felons, to buy and build weapons that pose a major public safety threat.”

Police across the country in Baltimore, Maryland have also said untraceable firearms assembled from gun kits are becoming a problem, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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Baltimore Police Lieutenant Colonel John Herzog told legislators on Wednesday that Baltimore officers had seized 126 guns lacking traceable serial numbers in 2020, up from 29 the prior year. The Maryland General Assembly is debating a bill that would prohibit owners and manufacturers from selling, lending, or leasing untraceable firearms or the kits to build them without verifying the seller has a valid state police handgun license, as well as ban ownership of guns or frames unless they are stamped with serial numbers and other information.

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