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Polymer80, Largest Maker of 'Ghost Guns,' Faces Lawsuits

In 2020, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Claudia Apolinar and her partner, Emmanuel Perez-Perez, parked their cruiser in Compton with plans to keep watch over a Metro train stop. Suddenly, both were shot in an ambush, suffering serious injuries. Three days later, police arrested the man they say carried out the attack, Deonte Murray. They found a “ghost gun” — a firearm built from a kit anyone can buy without a background check — that they say Murray used to shoot Apolinar and Perez-Perez, NBC News reports. Murray pleaded not guilty and is being held on a $6.1 million bond. It’s unclear how Murray got the gun. The difficulty of tracing where ghost guns come from is part of what makes them so appealing to criminals and so concerning to law enforcement. One thing was clear: the “P80” logo stamped at the base of its grip.

Los Angeles has been a hot spot for ghost guns. Last year, the Los Angeles Police Department recovered 8,661 firearms. Of those, 1,921 — or more than 22 percent — were ghost guns. Some 1,722 of those ghost guns — almost 90 percent — were made from kits produced by a single company: Polymer80. Nevada-based Polymer80 is one of the largest manufacturers of do-it-yourself ghost gun kits. Apolinar and Perez-Perez sued the company last year. Their suit — which alleges Polymer80 acted negligently and violated firearms laws — follows cases brought by the city of Los Angeles and by Washington, D.C., which also accuse the company of disregarding state and federal gun laws. In 2020, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched the company’s headquarters in Dayton, Nv. The government alleged in its search warrant affidavit that Polymer80 was selling firearms without performing mandatory background checks, marking weapons with serial numbers or maintaining the required records. Polymer80’s president, Loran Kelley, said the company hasn’t been charged with any crime and disputed ATF’s allegations that the company’s ghost gun kits qualify as firearms that are regulated under federal law. He said the firm "is a legitimate company catering to a sector of the market that has nothing to do with a criminal element.”


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