Baltimore suing ghost gun manufacturer as Maryland ban goes into effect
The city of Baltimore has filed a lawsuit against the ghost gun manufacturer Polymer80 Inc. alleging the company and its firearms have created a public health crisis in the city.
In a statement on Wednesday, the city said that Polymer80, the nation’s largest gun manufacturer, intentionally undermined various federal and state firearm laws to manufacture, design and sell ghost gun kits and parts to customers without a background check.
The city announced the lawsuit on the same day the state’s new gun law went into effect.
The law prohibits people from purchasing, receiving, selling, offering to sell or transferring ghost guns. It also prohibits people from selling or offering to sell firearms that are not legally licensed.
The city said in its lawsuit that Polymer80’s main customers are those who are trying to avoid law enforcement or who cannot obtain a gun with a legal license, such as those who are underage, who are gun traffickers or who have past criminal convictions.
The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturer had not complied with the Maryland Handgun Register law or the Maryland Handgun Qualification License law prior to the state’s ban on the sale of ghost guns going into effect.
“Ghost guns are a devastating menace to the people of Baltimore,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott (D) said in a statement.
“This lawsuit shines a light on Polymer80 and individuals who routinely create a marketplace for deadly, untraceable weapons. The availability of these weapons – particularly to criminals, juveniles and other people who are prohibited from owning a firearm – presents a growing public health crisis. We must stop Polymer80 and companies like it that profit from destroying our communities,” he added.
The lawsuit also names Hanover Armory, a local gun shop in Maryland, as a defendant in the case and alleges that the store sells Polymer80 kits without determining whether its customers are prohibited from owning firearms.
In a statement, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said he supports Scott’s lawsuit, adding he will keep fighting for gun reform on the federal level.
“We cannot & will not accept senseless gun violence as normal. The crackdown on ghost guns here in MD is a step fwd, but our state is not an island,” Van Hollen said in a tweet. “As @MayorBMScott takes on manufacturers & our new law goes into effect, I’ll keep fighting for federal, common-sense gun safety laws.”
House Democrats have scheduled a special session of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday to send a slate of tougher firearms rules to the chamber floor.
Democrats are facing a more difficult lift in the Senate. A bipartisan group of senators is currently negotiating a bill in response to recent mass shootings in a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store and in a school in Uvalde, Texas.
The Senate group is reportedly focusing on incentives for states to create “red flag” laws to seize weapons from those deemed a threat to themselves or others. The senators are also looking at legislation to expand background checks for firearms sales and transfers.