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Mayor Adams, AG James file pair of lawsuits against New York gun retailers

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Mayor Eric Adams and Attorney General Letitia James announce a pair of lawsuits involving trafficking guns.
Photo by Ethan Stark-Miller

Mayor Eric Adams and Attorney General Letitia James Wednesday announced a pair of lawsuits against ghost gun retailers, one from Adams’ office at the federal level and another from the AG at the state level.

Adams said his office sought an immediate injunction targeting ghost gun retailers – including Arm or Ally, 80P Builder, Rockslide USA, Rainier Arms and Indie Guns – to stop the flow of the weapons into the city.

“We want to halt the rapidly escalating danger of illegal ghost guns. That’s why, this morning, the City of New York filed its own lawsuit against five online gun retailers that are illegally selling and delivering ghost gun components to addresses here in this city,” Adams said.

 

“We are not going to let gun companies turn New York City into a city of mail-order murder. Whether they are hidden in the trunks of cars or packed in a plain brown box, ghost guns are illegal in our city, and we will take every lawful action possible to stop gun retailers from profiting at the expense of the safety of our city,” he added.

 

These weapons have been appearing all over our city, Adams said, often ending up in the hands of convicted felons. The NYPD has already seized 180 ghost guns so far this year, a more than 181 percent increase from ghost gun seizures this time last year.

James said her office is filing a separate suit against ten ghost gun retailers, including Brownells, Inc. (Brownells), Blackhawk Manufacturing Group (80 Percent Arms), Salvo Technologies, Inc. (80 P Builder or 80P Freedom Co), G.S. Performance, LLC (Glockstore), Indie Guns, LLC (Indie Guns), Primary Arms, LLC (Primary Arms), Arm or Ally, LLC (Arm or Ally), Rainier Arms, LLC (Rainier Arms), KM Tactical LLC and Rock Slide USA, LLC (Rock Slide). 

 

In the suit, James alleges these companies have broken several state laws by selling ghost gun parts that can be easily turned into weapons to anyone who orders them. This includes the state’s licensing law, she said, which they broke by selling parts to convicted felons.

Additionally, James said this is the first time her office is invoking the Public Nuisance statute, which allows gun manufacturers and retailers to be held liable for harm incurred by firearms they produce.

“We are here today to combat the gun violence crisis that we are seeing not only in New York, but across the nation,” James said. “There should be no more immunity for gun distributors bringing harm and havoc to New York. Today’s lawsuit holds 10 gun sellers accountable for fueling the gun violence crisis and endangering New Yorkers. 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 outlined how several of these companies make it exceedingly easy to buy and assemble ghost guns with no oversight. Anyone can purchase ghost gun parts or a kit online without a background check, James added, including those who typically wouldn’t be able to purchase a gun at a brick and mortar store. These weapons also have no serial numbers, so they’re untraceable.

“Anyone can buy a ghost gun kit or parts from these companies for between $150 and $200,” James said “These kits arrive at your front door with instructions for the simple changes that need to be made. Milling down a small amount of plastic at the top of the frame. Drilling three small holes into the side. Some companies even include the drill bits in their kids. Often step-by-step videos are included to show you how to convert these guns and they even offer a live help line that customers can call.”

The attorney general and the mayor were joined by the families of a couple of gun violence victims killed and harmed by a recent incident involving ghost guns. One was Angellyh Yambo, a 16-year-old girl who was shot and killed in a Bronx crossfire in early April.

“Angellyh’s mom was caught in the crossfire, [a] painful moment that she’s turned into purpose,” Adams said. “That gun is here on display today. You never forget about it. Angellyh’s parents are the symbol of the strength that too many parents are having to display.”

They were also joined by the family of Isaiah Duncan, a 17-year-old who was injured in the same shooting that killed Yambo.

This all comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a century old New York law that tightly restricted who could obtain a permit to carry a handgun outside the home last week.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. on June 29, 2022.

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