San Francisco DA, Giffords Sue Over "Ghost Guns"

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

While the Biden administration prepares to finalize a proposed rule targeting unfinished firearm frames and receivers, the gun control lobby and the far-left District Attorney in San Francisco have launched a new civil suit against three companies that manufacture and sell gun parts, including build-it-yourself gun kits. Chesa Boudin and the gun control Giffords filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday, accusing three firms of engaging in deceptive marketing practices and arming criminals.

“Ghost guns are a massive problem in San Francisco — they are becoming increasingly involved in murders, attempted murders, and assaults with firearms,” said Mr. Boudin, who filed the lawsuit in conjunction with the gun control group founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

“We know that the rise in gun violence is connected to the proliferation of, and easy access to, guns that are untraceable, guns that are easier to obtain by people who would be otherwise prohibited by law from getting them,” he added.

Homicides in California jumped by about 27 percent from 2019 to 2020, to about 2,300, the largest increase in decades, and the rise has continued this year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In 2020, 44 percent of guns recovered in homicide cases in San Francisco were ghost guns, compared with just 6 percent in 2019, the police chief, Bill Scott, told the city’s board of supervisors in May.

This isn’t the first time that a California city has partnered with a gun control group to go after a manufacturer. Earlier this year the city of Los Angeles partnered with Everytown for Gun Safety in suing the Nevada company Polymer80 using the same argument. In that case, the company has responded by pointing out that the products they sell aren’t considered firearms under federal law.

“While the Complaint quotes definitions for ‘firearm’ and ‘handgun’ under federal law, it does not adequately explain how Defendants’ products meet the various technical elements of each of those definitions,” wrote Sean A. Brady, the company’s lawyer in response to the suit in Los Angeles.

Of course, the gun control lobby is hoping to get around that inconvenient fact by changing the definitions of “firearm”, “handgun,” “frame,” “receiver,” and even the word “readily”, at least as they’re defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968. The public comment period on the proposed rule from ATF and DOJ that would implement the new definitions and impose a backdoor ban on home-built firearms closes tomorrow, and it’s expected that the Biden administration will move as quickly as the federal bureaucracy allows to implement their proposal.

When that happens, we can anticipate another round of lawsuits; this time from Second Amendment organizations and manufacturers, who are expected to challenge the Biden administration’s edict as an unlawful assertion of executive authority.

Clearly anti-gun organizations like Everytown and Giffords aren’t content to let the Biden administration take the lead here. This is a multi-pronged effort using state-level litigation and legislation alongside federal regulation to target companies that are selling lawful products.

In doing so, not only the gun control activists trying to impose a ban on home-built firearms (which have been legal since before the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1787), they’re also exposing the failure of one of California’s more recent gun control laws. Even if individuals prohibited by law from possessing a firearm are buying DIY gun kits and building their own (which, by the way, is illegal for them to do), they shouldn’t be able to acquire any ammunition for their gun in California because the state requires background checks on all ammunition purchases.

In fact, California goes even further by banning residents from purchasing ammunition out-of-state and bringing it back across the border. If California’s ammo control law was even modestly effective, wouldn’t that curtail the ability of criminals to obtain the ammunition needed for their black market guns?

Obviously the law is doing nothing to thwart criminals, and that will be the case if and when the ATF tries to declare home-built firearms verboten (unless they’re sold with a serial number and the buyer goes through a background check). Even today the majority of guns recovered in San Francisco homicides are not “ghost guns,” and criminals will continue to use the black market to get their guns; through theft, straw purchases, and burglaries.

If anyone should know the importance of going after criminals instead of going after the makers of lawful products, you’d think it would be Boudin. After all, he was raised by Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn, two members of the Weather Underground who spent years on the run as fugitives after their bombing campaign in the early 1970s left several victims wounded and three of their compatriots dead after a nail bomb prematurely exploded in the Greenwich Village townhouse where it was being assembled.

Then again, perhaps spending his formative years being counseled by Marxist domestic terrorists has skewed Boudin’s sense of justice. Why go after misguided and misunderstood violent criminals when you can target companies like MDX Arms, G.S. Performance, and Blackhawk Manufacturing Group instead?