Baltimore City on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against national gun manufacturer Polymer80, Inc., accusing them of "flooding" the streets with untraceable and unserialized firearms, creating a "public health crisis."
It comes on the same day a new Maryland state law went into effect, prohibiting anyone from buying, selling or transferring an unfinished firearm frame or receiver that's missing a serial number.
The lawsuit asks a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge to order the Nevada based company to pay compensatory damages for policing costs, along with punitive damages.
The City alleges negligence, public nuisance, and violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, on the part of Polymer80.
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It goes onto accuse the company of "intentionally undermining federal and state firearms laws by designing, manufacturing, selling and providing ghost gun kits and parts to buyers who do not undergo a background check."
The city is also seeking an injunction against Polymer80, requiring them to stop the flow of so called "ghost guns" into the City.
WMAR-2 News checked the Polymer80 website and found that their AR receiver kits and pistol frame kits are out of stock. Even if they were available online for purchase, the website says they cannot ship to Maryland or California, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington State.
As part of their argument, the city cites a 2021 case where four people were found to have the tools to assemble 40 — Polymer80 pistols.
It's also worth noting that an armed shooting suspect killed by police in February of 2021 near the Inner Harbor was in possession of a 9mm Polymer80 semiautomatic handgun.
“This lawsuit shines a light on Polymer80 and individuals who routinely create a marketplace for deadly, untraceable weapons," said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. "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.”
The lawsuit also names Hanover Armory as a defendant, accusing them of regularly selling Polymer80 kits in Maryland without determining whether its customers are prohibited from owning a firearm.
However, Polymer80 does not list Hanover Armory as an authorized dealer, nor does Hanover appear to sell Polymer products on their website.
So far in 2022 police say they've recovered more than 187 ghost guns in the city, which they say accounts for 19 percent of all guns recovered this year. It's unclear how many of those are actually made by Polymer80. It's also unknown how many of the city's 139 murders this year were result of Polymer weapons being used.
In 2021 — 324 ghost guns were recovered in Baltimore. Tracking did not start until after 2018.
We've reached out to Polymer80 for a response, and are waiting to hear back. Hanover Armory says they are reviewing the lawsuit and have no comment at this time.
Baltimore is not the first city to sue Polymer80, so has Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Meanwhile, New York has asked the ATF to revoke their license.
This story was originally published by Ryan Dickstein of WMAR in Baltimore, Maryland.