Ghost gun manufacturer to halt sales to Maryland residents

A leading manufacturer of ghost guns will halt sales to Maryland residents under a settlement agreement reached with the city of Baltimore, the city announced Wednesday.

The agreement will settle Baltimore’s lawsuit against Polymer80, a Nevada-based manufacturer of ghost guns and firearm parts. The suit argued the company and its firearms have created a public health crisis in the city.

Ghost guns are firearms sold as do-it-yourself kits and are usually untraceable and unserialized.

Baltimore accused Polymer80 of intentionally undermining various state and federal firearm laws to design, manufacture and sell ghost gun kits and parts without requiring a background check.

An increasing number of ghost guns have been recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations or in the hands of minors, prompting both state and federal efforts to curb their proliferation. The Biden administration in 2022 announced a crackdown on ghost guns, which was challenged by gun rights advocacy groups shortly afterward.

Baltimore’s suit was filed in June 2022 in partnership with the nonprofit Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Around the same time, Maryland’s new gun law that prohibited people from pushing receiving, selling, offering to sell or transferring ghost guns went into effect. It also banned people from selling firearms that are not legally licensed.

The settlement grants the city all measures of relief requested in the suit, including $1.2 million in damages, city officials said.

In addition to prohibiting the sale of ghost guns to Maryland residents, the settlement also bars Polymer80 from advertising in the Old Line State and requires the manufacturer to ban dealers in nearby states from selling ghost guns to Maryland residents.

City officials said the settlement marks the “most expansive and strictest injunctive terms” of any suit against ghost gun manufacturers in the country.

Philip Bangle, Brady’s senior litigation counsel, called the suit a “victory” for Baltimore and “the right for gun industry accountability.”

“Polymer80 fueled gun violence in the city by selling ghost guns to subvert lifesaving Brady Background Checks,” Bangle wrote in a statement Wednesday, adding later, “This settlement will staunch the flow of these weapons and force Polymer80 to contribute to healing the City of Baltimore for the injuries and trauma their products inflicted on the city.”

The Hill reached out to Polymer80 for comment.

“Nine out of ten homicides in Baltimore City are committed with guns,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said. “As I have promised, the City is using every tool at its disposal to address the epidemic of gun violence we face, and our comprehensive approach is finally seeing success in driving down violence.”

City officials said ghost guns continue to play a role in gun violence in Baltimore, adding that the city’s police seized 462 ghost guns last year. As of Wednesday, police have already seized 43 ghost guns this year, the city said.

The suit was also filed against Maryland gun shop Hanover Armory, which was not named in the settlement agreement. That part of the suit remains ongoing, The Associated Press reported.

Polymer80 has been involved in similar litigation in other cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., the news wire added.

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