The New York Attorney General is upset with a handful of manufacturers out there. You see, she’s arguing that parts kits and incomplete lower receivers shouldn’t be sold in New York at all, and is upset that some companies are still selling any of this.
You see, Attorney General Letitia James is calling out a handful of companies, but not calling them out.
The companies, which James did not identify for fear of directing them business, sell the parts needed to assemble assault rifles that are otherwise outlawed in New York, requiring just little finishing and assembly on the user’s part.
“Your website offers unfinished lower receivers that require simple milling in order to manufacture unregistered and un-serialized assault weapons, despite the fact that such manufacture and possession are illegal in New York,” James wrote in a letter sent to the targeted companies. “Nor does your website adequately warn New York consumers that using these products in the manner for which they are intended and advertised could result in imprisonment and/or fines.”
“The sale of such products to New Yorkers gravely endangers the public welfare by promoting the possession of illegal weapons and obstructing law enforcement investigations into the misuse of these weapons, and constitutes a criminal offense under New York State law,” she continued.
She’s accusing them of selling “ghost guns.”
The problem? Building an AR-15 isn’t actually illegal in the state of New York.
Now, NY has a strict assault weapon ban in place, but there doesn’t seem to be any law in place banning people from building their own firearm so long as it complies with the state’s regulations. They can’t build lawfully build something that would otherwise be illegal, but the receiver itself isn’t the issue. It’s just the base for the firearm. These companies who are selling these incomplete receivers aren’t responsible for what people do with them after they’re sold.
What James is trying to do is to intimidate these companies into halting sales to New York or, failing that, to intimate that such sales could potentially be illegal as a way to dissuade people from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Now, New York does have a bill introduced that would ban the practice. Considering how New York seems to be about guns, it’ll probably pass. The thing is, it hasn’t, though. Not yet. It won’t get voted on until January at the earliest. That’s when the General Assembly is back in session.
What James is trying to do is use the power of her office to try and intimidate private businesses that aren’t breaking any laws to stop doing business with people in her state.
It’s my most sincere hope that they all give her the middle finger and, perhaps, offer a sale for residents of New York so they can build all they want before the ban can go into effect. Assuming it actually passes, of course.
Next, James will try to target parts kits that help people complete their builds or, in some cases, modify their rifles lawfully. In fact, at first glance of this story, that’s what I thought she was already doing.
Instead, she’s warning companies that they’re somehow responsible for what their customers might do.
And I bet she wonders why she gets called a statist a lot.