We live in a litigious society. People will sue at the drop of a hat for some idiotic reason. However, in the gun world, lawsuits happen for two reasons. One is that there was a legitimate fault in a gun that caused injury. We all get those lawsuits. The other are those that exist just to make it too costly for a gun-related company to continue to do business.
Frankly, that sounds like what’s happening with Polymer80.
It seems the controversial “ghost gun” supplier is now being sued by a couple of California deputies.
Two agents from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, who were seriously injured in an ambush in Compton last year, sued a Nevada company for manufacturing parts for the “ghost gun” used in the attack.
The proceedings allege that the September attack occurred because Polymer80 Inc. negligently and illegally sold a “non-traceable homemade gun kit.”
It was the latest effort to deal with the proliferation of ghost guns assembled from off-the-shelf kits and parts purchased online. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives does not consider unfinished kits to be firearms, so buyers do not have to undergo regular background checks and in most states they do not need to serialize their guns. There is none.
The problem with this lawsuit, however, is that Polymer80 followed all relevant laws.
See, “ghost guns” aren’t illegal in the state of California. You can make a weapon if you want, you just have to give it a serial number and, if applicable, register it with the state. Polymer80, because they don’t sell firearms, isn’t required to go through FFL dealers. In fact, while they could distribute to FFL holders, there’s nothing to require them to conduct a background check, either.
Because Polymer80 complied with every law on the books as it understood them at the time of the sale, you’re going to have a hard time making the case that they did so illegally.
Then again, this is California.
In a way, this lawsuit could be a gift to Polymer80.
Remember them getting hammered over kits that allowed you to buy everything you needed to build your own gun? A lawsuit puts it into the court system, which means it could well end up before the Supreme Court, which may well rule that they did nothing wrong with those kits, thus undercutting everything the ATF has been trying to do.
Of course, that’s a long process. The better outcome for Polymer80 may well be for the court to throw this one out under the Protection of Lawful Commerce of Arms Act. The PLCAA covers pretty much everything related to the firearm industry, so one would assume Polymer80 would also be covered.
If not, though, then it’s a tacit admission by the courts that Polymer80 doesn’t sell firearms and shouldn’t be held responsible for what happened to these two deputies.
Somehow, I doubt a California court will see it that way, but I suppose stranger things have happened.