DC sues ‘ghost gun’ maker Polymer80

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine filed a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Polymer80 Inc., which sells untraceable partially-assembled semi-automatic rifles and handguns, for advertising and selling illegal guns to District consumers.

The civil lawsuit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, alleges the Nevada-based company violates D.C. law by falsely representing that its weapons are legal in the District and by selling illegal firearms.

The firearms company sells items online that are commonly called “ghost guns” because they don’t have identifying information, such as serial numbers, and are untraceable by law enforcement, according to D.C.’s Office of the Attorney General.

The suit says:

On its website, Polymer80 claims that these weapons,which include an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a .308 semi-automatic rifle, and at least seven types of handguns, are no more than 80% complete. Consumers can purchase the lower receivers of rifles or handgun frames, along with other materials — generally, the trigger barrel, and firing pin, all of which are available, if in stock, on Polymer80s website — needed to complete the receivers and handgun frames into fully functional firearms. The consumers then receive those material via mail.”

Polymer80’s “ghost guns” are tied to nine killings in D.C., and of the 250 untraceable guns recovered by District law enforcement since 2017, 208 or 80% were made by the company, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

“Polymer80 makes it easy for individuals to buy unmarked and untraceable firearms that are commonly used to commit violent crimes,” said Racine, in a news release. “The Office of the Attorney General is seeking a court order to stop the company from selling ghost guns to D.C. consumers and to get these deadly weapons off our streets.”

Racine’s office said Polymer80 has violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which prohibits a wide variety of deceptive and unlawful businesses practices that harm consumers.

Selling products that violate other laws is considered an unlawful trade practice under the act, according to Racine.

The city is seeking a court order to stop the gun maker from continuing to sell illegal ghost guns to District residents, as well as civil penalties, monetary relief and legal costs.

Polymer80 has not responded to a request for comment by WTOP.

“Ghost guns” have proven popular among hobbyists or gun enthusiasts.

But gun control advocates say they are increasingly popping up in crimes, used by people who are prohibited from buying firearms who are trying to circumvent a background check.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed legislation that would prohibit the possession, assembly, sale and purchase of any type of “ghost gun” in February.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up