WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) won a $4 million court judgment in its lawsuit against Polymer80, a ghost gun manufacturer and distributor. In a landmark ruling, the court permanently barred Polymer80 from selling unserialized, untraceable firearms to District residents and ordered the company to pay more than $4 million in penalties for making false and misleading claims about the legality of its products.
“This judgment against Polymer80 is a major victory for DC residents and for public safety, and it will help slow the flow of deadly untraceable ghost guns into our community,” said AG Racine. “As the District continues to face an epidemic of gun violence, our office will do everything in our power to keep DC residents safe. It’s why we work to implement innovative, data-driven approaches to respond to people who violate the law, address the root causes of crime to prevent people from reoffending, and—like we did in this case—use the law to reduce the number of guns on our streets. The more than $4 million in penalties imposed by the court in this case should send a strong message to firearm manufacturers, distributors, and dealers across the country: you cannot sell illegal guns to DC residents.”
AG Racine filed suit against Polymer80 in 2020 for illegally advertising and selling untraceable firearms to District consumers. He was the first attorney general in the country to file such a suit against the company, which sells gun kits and parts that come without serial numbers or other identification numbers and can be assembled into fully functional, untraceable firearms—including semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and a variety of handguns—in less than 2 hours. (Since then, several other states and municipalities have also filed suit.)
The District alleged that Polymer80 violated consumer protection law by falsely claiming that its weapons are legal in the District and by selling illegal guns to DC consumers. With the suit, OAG sought to stop Polymer80 from selling its ghost guns in DC, where these weapons are increasingly being used to commit crimes, and sought monetary penalties. The District moved for a preliminary injunction soon after the filing of the case, causing Polymer80 to cease selling weapons to District residents in July 2020.
In an August 10, 2022 judgment in favor of the District, the court affirmed that Polymer80 violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by selling illegal firearms in the District and by making false and misleading claims about the legality of its products. The court ordered Polymer80 to:
- Permanently end sales of its illegal ghost guns to DC consumers: The court permanently banned Polymer80 from selling all handgun frames, lower receivers, or Buy, Build, Shoot kits and any comparable products to District consumers both directly through its own website and indirectly through its dealers and distributors.
- Inform consumers that its products are illegal in DC: The court ordered Polymer80 to inform dealers and distributors that its products cannot be sold to residents of the District of Columbia, and to place prominent notifications on each product page that its products are illegal to purchase and possess in the District of Columbia.
- Pay more than $4 million in penalties: The court found that Polymer80 directly sold 19 firearms to DC residents and made illegal misrepresentations to consumers, including falsely claiming that consumers had the right to possess its products in the District and that it had approval to sell firearms to District consumers. These misrepresentations remained on Polymer80’s website for at least 1,198 days. The court imposed civil penalties for each day the misrepresentations were made, and Polymer80 will be required to pay a total of $4,038,000 to the District within 30 days.
The court order granting the District’s motion for summary judgment is available here.
OAG’s Efforts to Crack Down on Ghost Guns & Improve Public Safety in DC
In recent years, the District has seen an exponential increase in the number of ghost guns recovered by law enforcement. For example, the Metropolitan Police Department recovered just three ghost guns in 2017 but 439 in 2021, a 146-fold increase.
AG Racine has led the way in cracking down on ghost guns in the District and urging the federal government to take needed action to regulate these weapons across the country. In July 2022, he led a coalition of 20 attorneys general in filing a brief backing a new federal rule requiring serialization of weapon parts kits and partially complete frames and receivers, and requiring background checks to purchase these weapons. He previously led a coalition of 22 AGs calling on ATF to better regulate these weapons and improve public safety. In 2021, he also joined a White House meeting on holding gun manufacturers accountable and highlighted the need for more regulation of ghost guns.