Local authorities claim that so-called “ghost gun” manufacturers have violated state and federal firearm control laws by shipping unregistered firearm assembly components into New York.
New York has filed lawsuits against nearly a dozen companies accused of selling components for so-called “ghost guns.”
According to CNN, the lawsuits—filed by state Attorney General Letitia James, New York City prosecutors, and other local authorities—invoke a recently enacted “public nuisance” law, which allows litigation against firearm companies and manufacturers accused of negligently marketing their products.
“We’re grappling with a public safety crisis that has claimed far too many lives,” James said during a Wednesday press conference. “Increasingly, ghost guns are to blame for the destruction.”
The attorney general’s complaint was filed following an undercover law enforcement investigation, which found that the defendant companies had sent “tens of thousands” of unregulated component shipments into the state.
During the investigation, agents “were able to purchase unfinished frames online from three distributors, who shipped them into New York without serial numbers or a background check.”
Judging by the weight and size of the received packages, James’s office says the state “has reason to believe tens of thousands of shipments sent by the gun [sic] contain unfinished frames and receivers.”
New York City’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Manhattan, following a similar investigation from the N.Y.C. Sheriff’s Department.
In their investigation, deputies used “fake credit cards” to purchase components and firearm assembly kits.
The New York City Law Department says that it has asked the district court to issue an injunction barring the defendant companies from selling firearm parts in the city.
Prosecutors have also demanded that “ghost gun” distributors provide the addresses of their customers in New York City.
“With just a few clicks and a credit card, undercover investigators in the sheriff’s office … were able to order the components and use them to assemble guns that are illegal under city and state law,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement, reprinted in part by CNN. “These are dangerous weapons, we should not think these are just kits used for hobbyists — they’re being used by murderers. All of them are illegal. Think about it: No matter where you live, no matter where you are, you can order one of these weapons and use it for whatever issues that you are attempting to resolve by using violence.
“We are not going to let gun companies turn New York into a city of mail-order murder. Whether they are hidden in the trunks of cars or in parks in a plain brown box, they are illegal and we will fight against it,” Adams added. “We will take every lawful action possible to stop gun retailers from profiting over public safety.”