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NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams asking the federal government Wednesday to revoke the firearms license of the biggest manufacturer of ghost guns, which he said are flooding city streets and fueling a surge in crime.
In a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Adams asked the bureau to yank the federal license of Polymer80, which makes most of the ghost guns that are recovered at city crime scenes.
“They have played fast and loose with the laws and attempted to circumvent the laws,” Adams said at a press conference at NYPD headquarters, where he stood behind a table with displaying 131 ghost guns seized by the NYPD.
Ghost guns are sold online as kits of parts and assembled at home. They have no traceable markings or serial numbers.
“They have repeatedly, willfully targeted communities with this form of retail supplying of ghost guns,” Adams said.
The mayor also lashed out at critics and said he was “pissed off” by his administration’s inability to stop increases in crime despite a major focus on the issue, blaming both the proliferation of guns and the release of criminal suspects.
“We’ve had this battle before. But you know, we won it before because everyone was with us,” Adams said, referring to the city’s high-crime days decades ago. “Every newspaper in the city was with us. Every lawmaker was with us … Right now, the NYPD’s by themselves.”
“The opinion-makers and the opinion-shapers have abandoned our police,” he said.
The NYPD seized 275 ghost guns last year — up from 17 recovered in 2018, the first year the devices were found on city streets, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. So far this year, cops have found 153 ghost guns — a 314 percent increase from the same period last year.
“The companies that sell them don’t ask if you have a permit. They don’t ask if you have a gun license. And they don’t require you to go through a background check,” Sewell said. “Buyers simply order and build these deadly firearms.”
The plea to the ATF, which was joined by Everytown for Gun Safety, charges that Polymer80 sold gun kits to felons and minors, failed to do required background checks and did not put required serial numbers on its products.
“The evidence is clear. Polymer80 broke federal law,” said Nick Suplina, Everytown’s senior vice president. The letter says it would "send a terrible message to bad actors in this industry" to let the company stay in operation.
The ATF declined to comment. Polymer80 did not respond to a request for comment. Following the press conference, Sewell met with the acting director of the ATF.
Gun arrests are up 28 percent, and the NYPD has removed 2,600 illegal guns from the streets this year, Adams said.
But major crime is up 41 percent in the months since Adams took office compared to the same period last year.
Adams said that based on his policies, he expected to get crime under control by the end of January.
“New Yorkers should be living in a safe city right now, based on the actions of the police department,” he said.
But he said cops are “removing the guns just to have them come back in, and removing the bad people just to have them come back to our communities,” he said, repeating criticism of state laws he believes are too lenient on criminal suspects.
In the most recent case, a man who allegedly shot an NYPD officer late Tuesday night had pleaded guilty to gun charges, but was released to await sentencing.
“You are foiling our entire operation, destroying the operation,” Adams said.
He also warned that the situation could worsen if the Supreme Court strikes down New York’s law restricting the carrying of guns in public.
“We’re in a real scary place,” he said.