LA, Polymer80 reach settlement on "ghost gun" sales

LA, Polymer80 reach settlement on "ghost gun" sales
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

So-called ghost guns are touted as a significant threat to peace and prosperity in many of our cities. The numbers we’ve been able to find don’t actually support that, but I’ll acknowledge that the numbers do seem to be increasing.


That’s likely in part because the media keeps talking about these firearms, thus creating marketing for criminals to figure out there’s an opportunity there.

Regardless, many people take the threat seriously and many states and communities have restricted the sale of “ghost gun” kits and parts.

Los Angeles, for example, has such a ban and they sued Polymer80, which supplies many such kits, for violating the city’s law.

That lawsuit has now been settled.

Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto announced a $5 million settlement Tuesday in a lawsuit against Nevada-based Polymer80, permanently prohibiting the company from selling its “ghost gun” kits in the state without first conducting background checks of buyers and serializing its products.

As part of the settlement, the company must pay $4 million in civil penalties, and its two founders must pay an additional $1 million in civil penalties.

“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 to 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.”


Except let’s be real here, few of those 16,000 people were killed with “ghost guns.”

When we hear numbers of unserialized, homemade firearms, they’re a tiny fraction of the weapons recovered. Moreover, most of those recovered weren’t used in homicides.

When Illinois was set to pass its own “ghost gun” ban, we learned just how few people have been killed with such weapons. Now, that was a year ago, but in six years, we had a total of 325 homicides nationwide that were carried out with so-called ghost guns. While I’m sure that number has since increased

I’m sorry, but they’re not the threat.

Further, let’s also acknowledge the strong possibility that Polymer80 simply settled this lawsuit because they’ve got more going on and it was cheaper in the long run to pay out than to continue fighting. They have other battles going on, after all, and legal fights are expensive.

Either way, the city of Los Angeles shouldn’t delude itself. They’re no safer now than they were before. So-called ghost guns aren’t the problem. Criminals are the problem. If they don’t get them this way, they’ll get them another. It’s just not that difficult for them.


But the city would rather blame guns than actually work to combat crime in a meaningful way. That would actually involve addressing the root problem and that looks a whole lot like work. We all know how politicians feel about work.

At the end of the day, Polymer80 pays out some money, Los Angeles officials get to pretend they did something, and literally nothing else changes.

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