By Brendan Pierson
(Reuters) – Los Angeles on Tuesday announced a settlement with a Nevada-based company accused of illegally selling “ghost weapons”, components without serial numbers that a buyer can easily assemble into a complete weapon, in California.
The company, Polymer80, will pay $4 million in civil penalties, and its two founders will pay a combined $1 million. Polymer80 will be prohibited from selling firearm components or kits in the state without including serial numbers and without performing background checks on buyers.
“This settlement holds Polymer80 and its founders accountable, keeps firearms out of the hands of prohibited persons, makes Los Angeles neighborhoods safer, and will help law enforcement do their jobs,” the district attorney said. City of Los Angeles, Hydee Feldstein Soto, in a statement.
Polymer80 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Los Angeles had said phantom guns allowed people banned from having guns, including felons and minors, to get them, and named Polymer80 as one of the main culprits. He said that from January 2020 to February 2023, city police recovered more than 4,200 Polymer80 ghost guns.
He alleged that Polymer80’s sales practices violated federal gun control law. They also said the company’s products violate California’s Unsafe Handgun Act, which requires firearms to have certain safety features, or its Firearms Assembly Act, which mandates serial numbers.
The city’s lawsuit is one of many across the country aimed at curbing the spread of phantom guns. New York recently won an order banning the sale of ghost weapons by 10 companies. Connecticut is pursuing a similar lawsuit.
State gun laws across the country have been overturned in legal challenges following a US Supreme Court ruling last year, dramatically expanding gun rights .
(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York, editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Richard Chang)