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LA city attorney wins $5M settlement from biggest U.S. ghost gun manufacturer

The nation’s largest manufacturer of ghost gun kits must pay millions of dollars in penalties and must conduct customer background checks and include serial numbers on its products sold throughout California, under a settlement won by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The settlement includes $5 million in payouts, according to City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto’s office, which made the announcement Tuesday, May 30. That includes $4 million in civil penalties to be paid by the gun manufacturer, Polymer80, and $1 million in civil penalties leveled against the company’s two founders, Feldstein Soto’s office said.

Under the settlement, Polymer80 can no longer sell ghost gun kits in California unless it includes serial numbers on its products and conducts background checks as required under federal law. Its dealers and distributors also are prohibited from selling unserialized gun kits in California, and the company can no longer provide customer support to individuals in the state.

Half of the settlement payment will go to the city of Los Angeles, and the other half to Los Angeles County, according to the city attorney’s office. The settlement dollars can only be used to further efforts that involve consumer protection.

“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 do 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.”

Nevada company Polymer80 is the largest manufacturer of ghost gun kits and parts in the U.S., and its products allow customers to assemble non-traceable guns at home, the city attorney’s office said. Between January 2020 and Feb. 2, 2023, the Los Angeles Police Department recovered more than 4,200 Polymer80 ghost guns – the most common brand recovered, the city attorney’s office said.

In 2021, then-City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit on behalf of the people of the state of California, although the state was not involved in the case, according to the city attorney’s office. In its lawsuit, the city alleged that Polymer80 violated federal Gun Control Act requirements and California state gun laws by not conducting mandatory background checks on the people purchasing its products.

Everytown Law, the nation’s largest team of attorneys advocating for gun safety, and attorneys from the L.A.-based firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, were co-counsels on the case.

“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,” Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law, said in a statement. “This settlement sends a loud and clear message that gun sellers that put profit over public safety will be held accountable.”

Polymer80 did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the settlement.

Source: Orange County Register

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