NY, NYC slap lawsuits on ghost gun makers despite few seizures

New York officials have announced a pair of lawsuits against companies that sell untraceable firearms assembled from kits, which politicians claim have caused many deaths — despite ghost guns making up a small and declining portion of firearms seized by police.

During a Wednesday press conference, Mayor Eric Adams and state Attorney General Letitia James revealed New York City and state are taking two separate legal actions against vendors of DIY weapons.

The city lawsuit was filed against five online gun retailers that the mayor said are illegally delivering ghost gun parts to Big Apple addresses. The state suit claims that gun sellers from outside New York have hawked tens of thousands of gun parts that were turned into untraceable handguns and assault weapons.

James was employing its nuisance law for the first time to take aim at ghost guns.

According to City Hall, retailers in Missouri, Washington, Florida and North Carolina sold ghost gun kits to an investigator from the New York City Sheriff’s Office. The gun components were shipped to a building in the Big Apple, breaking city and state laws.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city will be suing five online gun retailers that he claims are illegally delivering ghost gun parts.
William Farrington

“With just a few clicks and a credit card, undercover investigators … were able to order the components and use them to assemble guns that are illegal under city and state law,” Adams told reporters.

Some of the guns’ components the sheriffs recovered are made of polymer plastic with metal slides, and many of the components do not set off metal detectors, according to the mayor.

“These are dangerous weapons. We should not think these are kits used for hobbies. They are being used by murderers,” Hizzoner said. “All of them are illegal.”

NYS District Attorney Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James said the state will be pursuing its own lawsuit against ghost gun distributors.
William Farrington

Adams has repeatedly insisted that ghost guns are a key driver of gun violence, declaring in April that they are “one of the biggest threats to public safety that we face today.”

Top police officials have also expressed concern about the type of guns, though they have not provided statistics on how many shootings in the five boroughs are linked to them.

And of the approximately 3,000 illegal firearms the NYPD has seized this year, just 180 of them — 6% — have been ghost guns, Adams said. That represents a decrease in the portion of ghost guns police are snatching compared to earlier in the year.

NYPD data released in April showed 131 ghost guns recovered between Jan. 1 and April 6 of this year — a 351% increase compared to the 29 recovered by police officers during the same period in 2021.

At the time, ghost guns made up 12% of all guns recovered in 2022, according to the NYPD’s data.

“These weapons, these ghost guns … have been turning up all over the city … in the hands of gang members,” Adams said Wednesday at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Ghost Guns
Ghost guns are untraceable firearms assembled from kits.

“If you sell ghost guns in New York, we will come after you,” the mayor vowed. “We will do everything in our powers to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence.”

James said Wednesday that the state is “grappling with a public safety crisis that has claimed far too many lives.”

“Ghost guns are to blame,” she said, adding that the potentially deadly weapons are “ridiculously easy” to obtain.

James cited The Post’s reporting on ghost gun-obsessed Taco Bell worker Edison Cruz — who in May allegedly shot a man to death and wounded two others in the Bronx — as an example of the dangers of the untraceable firearms, specifically mentioning Cruz being described as a “nut” for the weapons.

Ghost guns
New York state AG James said ghost guns are creating a “public safety crisis” in the state.

“There are also individuals who make their own business out of buying these kits, assembling them into operable ghost guns and then selling them to others,” she explained.

“Gun violence is impacting New Yorkers every day,” James went on. “Ghost guns don’t discriminate, killing young, old, black, white, Asian, Latino. It’s an equal-opportunity death opportunity — stealing opportunity, stealing dreams, ripping families apart, causing widespread fear in New York state.”

The pair of legal actions come after Gov. Kathy Hochul in October signed legislation aimed at cracking down on ghost guns in New York, including making it illegal to possess an unfinished gun frame or receiver by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer.

Ghost guns
As of April, ghost guns made up 12 percent of all guns recovered by the NYPD in 2022.

In February, ahead of the president’s visit to New York Citythe Biden administration announced plans to crack down on illegal ghost guns and weapons trafficking on the East Coast’s so-called “iron pipeline.”

Last week, a US Supreme Court ruling overturned a century-old New York state law prohibiting the concealed carry of guns — a decision Adams said makes New Yorkers “less safe.”

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