Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto announced a $5 million settlement Tuesday in a lawsuit against Nevada-based Polymer80, permanently prohibiting the company from selling its “ghost gun” kits in the state without first conducting background checks of buyers and serializing its products.
As part of the settlement, the company must pay $4 million in civil penalties, and its two founders must pay an additional $1 million in civil penalties.
“This settlement holds Polymer80 and its founders accountable, keeps guns out of the hands of prohibited people, makes L.A. neighborhoods safer and will help law enforcement to their jobs,” Feldstein Soto said in a statement.
“More than 16,000 people have been killed by gun violence so far in 2023. This is an important step toward preventing unnecessary deaths, especially as Congress repeatedly fails to take action.”
Citing a surge in the number of nonserialized, untraceable guns recovered during police investigations, the City Attorney’s Office filed the suit in February 2021 with partners Everytown Law and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, alleging that Polymer80 was selling its gun kits in violation of federal Gun Control Act requirements and in violation of California gun laws.
They argued that without required background checks, the company’s products could easily be purchased by people prohibited from owning guns due to their criminal history, age or mental health status.
The settlement will also prohibit Polymer80 from providing customer support for those attempting to construct so-called “ghost guns” in California. In addition, the company will no longer be able to state in its ads or on its website that unserialized gun kits are legal in the state.
City officials said that from January 2020 through February 2023, the Los Angeles Police Department recovered more than 4,200 Polymer80 ghost guns. The national organization Everytown for Gun Safety has called ghost guns the fastest-growing gun safety problem facing the nation.
“Online, no-questions-asked sales of ghost gun-building kits have funneled too many firearms into the hands of felons, minors and other prohibited people,” said Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law. “This settlement sends a loud and clear message that gun sellers that put profit over public safety will be held accountable.”