Polymer80 defends itself from criticism

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

Polymer80 is perpetually under fire. After all, they make a product that’s pretty much designed to get around ATF regulations. It’s bound to piss some people off just because they exist.

However, with all the rhetoric about so-called ghost guns, there have been few in the media willing to reach out and get Polymer80’s take on the whole situation.

It seems NBC News actually did.

Los Angeles has been a hot spot for ghost guns, experts say. Last year, the Los Angeles Police Department recovered 8,661 firearms. Of those, 1,921 — or more than 22 percent — were ghost guns.

And, according to data from the LAPD included in a recent court filing, 1,722 of those ghost guns — almost 90 percent — were made from kits produced by a single company: Polymer80.

Nevada-based Polymer80 is one of the largest manufacturers of do-it-yourself ghost gun kits in the country. But that success has also put the company in the crosshairs. Apolinar and Perez-Perez sued the company last year. Their suit — which alleges Polymer80 acted negligently and violated firearms laws — follows cases brought by the city of Los Angeles and by Washington, D.C., which also accuse the company of disregarding state and federal gun laws.

A lawyer for Polymer80 said after the raid that it was cooperating with the investigation.

Reached by phone, Polymer80’s president, Loran L. Kelley Jr., emphasized that the company hasn’t been charged with any crime and disputed ATF’s allegations that the company’s ghost gun kits qualify as firearms that are regulated under federal law. He declined to comment on the pending civil lawsuits, citing advice from the company’s attorneys.

“Polymer80 is a law-abiding company,” he said. “Always has been. We’ve always been aboveboard.”

He added, “It’s a legitimate company catering to a sector of the market that has nothing to do with a criminal element.”

Here’s the thing, I don’t find that difficult to believe.

Yes, criminals appear to be embracing these types of guns, but there are a few facts that reports like this always seem to ignore.

First, Polymer80 is far from the only way to get an incomplete receiver. I mean, you can just 3D print a receiver these days, which means even if they shot the company and any other companies down, people will still be able to build firearms.

Second, let’s not forget that it wasn’t exactly difficult for bad guys to get guns before Polymer80 started up.

Notice how little of this really includes any context. They talk about 80 percent of homemade guns found by the LAPD, but there are few actual numbers that can present how big of a problem this is. Or now big it’s not.

That’s just par for the course with any discussion of unserialized firearms, I’m afraid.

Look, Polymer80 hasn’t broken the law so far as anyone can tell. The ATF took issue with them selling a full kit, but the requirements have never been about whether a receiver can be assembled into a gun readily after completion. Either the receiver is a gun or it’s not. If it’s not, it shouldn’t matter what else is sold with it.

The truth is that a lot of law-abiding citizens want these kits and the ATF really only has itself to blame for it.

After all, who is trying to digitize all past records, thus creating a de facto database of gun owners? I mean, I can’t imagine why a law-abiding citizen might want a gun that doesn’t go through with the whole paperwork thing that could easily be used to disarm American citizens.

No one trusts the government to preserve our right to keep and bear arms because the government has made it clear that they can’t be trusted. So, Polymer80 provides people with a means of having a gun that can’t show up on the radar.

But that genie is out of the bottle, so it’s time to get over it and start looking for an actual way to reduce crime.