The New York attorney general and New York City doubled down Wednesday on the quest to outlaw “ghost guns,” bringing municipal and federal litigation against gun manufacturers and distributors that sell weapons by the part, Courthouse News Service reports. “While families mourned loved ones lost to senseless gun violence, gun sellers avoided accountability for the illegal and dangerous weapons they sold,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “There should be no more immunity for gun distributors bringing harm and havoc to New York.” The lawsuit comes after a state investigation showed tens of thousands of shipments from these manufacturers to New Yorkers since 2017. James says undercover agents were able to purchase unfinished frames without serial numbers or a background check from these businesses. State laws prohibit the sale of unfinished frames and receivers to stop individuals from making minor changes and essentially building their own, untraceable gun, hence the name “ghost gun.”
As the guns become more accessible, New York law enforcement has seized nearly 400 in the last year alone. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says that the recovery of ghost guns at crime scenes has spiked over the last five years, from just over 1,700 recovered in 2016 to over 19,000 last year. James points out how businesses market to their customers the ease of buying their parts to build a gun. Glockstore is quoted in the state’s lawsuit as stating on its website: “You can build a completely legal handgun without any ‘government oversight’ aka interference. … No fuss, no muss, no registration, no records.” Glockstore is one of the few defendants named by the state that does not also appear in a federal lawsuit from New York City. Both cases name the out-of-state entities Arm or Ally, 80P Builder, Indie Guns, Rainier Arms and Rock Slide.