New York City Mayor Eric Adams is looking to become a “ghost gun buster” and on Thursday, joined by New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix, announced a landmark lawsuit against five online retailers that sell/deliver gun components used to produce so-called ghost guns. Such DIY firearms are banned within the Big Apple.
The retailers, based in Missouri, Washington, Florida, and North Carolina, reportedly advertised and sold the unfinished receivers and other parts online, and shipped those items directly to addresses in New York City. That was in violation of New York State and New York City laws, which made those sales illegal.
“It is illegal under state and city law to sell the components that are needed to make untraceable guns — and yet, after just a few clicks on a website, these defendants sell and deliver such parts into New York City,” said Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix.
In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the city said that the companies have created a “public nuisance” by selling the unfinished components.
“We are not going to let gun companies turn New York City into a city of mail-order murder,” Mayor Adams said in a statement. “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. That’s why, this morning, we filed a lawsuit against five online gun retailers that are illegally selling and delivering ghost gun components to addresses here in this city. We will not stand by while illegal operators flout the law, endanger our communities, and kill our young people.”
New York City’s complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against several defendants:
*Arm or Ally, based in Kansas City, Missouri;
*Rainier Arms, based in North Auburn, Washington;
*80P Builder, based in Largo, Florida;
*Rock Slide USA, based in Broadway, North Carolina; and
*Indie Guns, based in Orlando, Florida.
New York is not the first city to attempt to sue the retailers of such firearms components. Los Angeles had previously sued a major manufacturer of such “ghost guns” and had even called upon credit card companies to stop processing the transaction of the guns.
Crime and Guns
Illegal guns have become a serious problem in New York City in recent years, and already for 2022, New York City police have recovered 175 illegal firearms produced from such DIY kits. It is on pace to exceed the 263 ghost guns that were seized last year. In addition, Mayor Adams said that the NYPD has already recovered 180 illegally owned and unregistered shotguns so far this year.
Given these facts, it remains unclear whether any new legislation would actually stop individuals who are intent on possessing illegal firearms. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has suggested that any gun control efforts would only place additional restrictions on law-abiding supporters of the Second Amendment.
“Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law,” the NRA-ILA has noted. “Gun control laws only affect law-abiding people who go through legal avenues to obtain firearms.”
Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.