ATF Raids Nevada Company Over "Ghost Guns"

If you needed any more evidence that the ATF is getting ready for a crackdown on 80% frames and receivers, here it is. On Thursday, agents raided the offices of Polymer80, a Nevada company that manufactures both completed firearms as well as kits featuring unfinished frames and receivers that customers can turn into a firearm through their own efforts.

According to the Wall St. Journal, which was the first to report on the raid, the investigation into the company focuses on its “Buy Build Shoot Kit.”

The kit, which Polymer80 sells online, meets the definition of a firearm, ATF investigators determined according to the warrant application. That means it would have to be stamped with a serial number and couldn’t be sold to consumers who haven’t first passed a background check.

The ATF has long determined that 80% unfinished frames and receivers do not meet the federal definition of a firearm, but they’ve been pressured by gun control activists and Democrats like California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to revise their definition and start treating the unfinished gun parts as actual firearms.

At the moment, no charges have been filed against any Polymer80 employee, according to the WSJ, which reports that ATF agents seized records “other evidence” during Thursday’s raid.

The raid comes as gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety are demanding that Joe Biden crack down on “ghost guns” if he’s inaugurated next month by ensuring “the background check system covers all firearms, including the core parts and kits used to build untraceable ghost guns.” As the New York Times reported on Friday:

Everytown proposes Mr. Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reclassify ghost guns as firearms, requiring them to carry serial numbers and be traced like other guns — essentially eliminating their appeal as untraceable weapons.

The group is also requesting that the agency tighten its definition of what constitutes a firearms dealer who is required to comply with federal background checks. President Trump and previous administrations have left it to sellers to determine for themselves if they are full-time dealers, leaving untold thousands of guns to be sold at gun shows and online without federal checks. The Everytown proposal would have the agency set the limit at five guns sold per year to be required to conduct background checks before sales.

With the raid on Polymer80 the ATF looks like it’s eager to embrace the anti-gun agenda laid out by Everytown for Gun Safety. According to the warrant application, the federal agency had previously given approval for the company to sell its 80% receivers and frames, but the ATF now claims that the company should have submitted its entire kit containing the previously approved items for even more approval.

The ATF previously gave Polymer80 permission to sell unfinished receivers. But the Buy Build Shoot Kits, which are advertised as having “all the necessary components to build a complete…pistol” weren’t submitted to the agency for approval, according to the application for the search warrant. These kits can be “assembled into fully functional firearms in a matter of minutes,” the warrant application says.

Why would Polymer80 submit the kit for approval by the ATF when it doesn’t contain an actual firearm and the frame or receivers have already been approved? This makes no sense from a legal perspective, but logic and consistency isn’t really what the ATF appears to be aiming at here.

As for Polymer80’s response, the company released a brief statement a brief statement to the website The Truth About Guns:

Over the past few years, and at the present time, Polymer80 has had numerous contacts from federal, state, and local law enforcement officials across the country. In each such instance, when properly and lawfully so approached, Polymer80 has expended best efforts to fully cooperate with law enforcement. When and as appropriate, the company will continue to do so.

This practice is consistent with Polymer80’s hard-earned reputation as an industry leader and responsible corporate citizen. Indeed, the company takes its legal obligations seriously, just as it does its treasured and fruitful relationships with its customers and independent dealers.

In short, Polymer80 is committed to discharging all of its responsibilities and duties as to them, as well as vigorously protecting its rights under the law. We will continue to monitor all developments as they arise.

Stay tuned, because the crackdown on companies like Polymer80 appears to be underway, and there are likely to be plenty of developments in the days ahead. If the ATF is already engaging in raids like this with Donald Trump still in office, you can imagine what’s coming if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in next month.

Dec 06, 2021 12:30 PM ET