WASHINGTON — D.C.'s attorney general made a major announcement in the fight for gun control Thursday.
Karl Racine announced that the Office of the Attorney General won a $4 million court judgment in its lawsuit against Polymer80, a ghost gun manufacturer and distributor.
In the landmark ruling, the court permanently barred Polymer80 from selling unserialized, untraceable guns to District residents and ultimately ordered the company to pay millions in penalties for making false and misleading claims about the legality of its products.
“This judgment against Polymer80 is a major victory for D.C. residents and for public safety, and it will help slow the flow of deadly untraceable ghost guns into our community,” Racine said. “As the District continues to face an epidemic of gun violence, our office will do everything in our power to keep D.C. residents safe.
Racine initially filed the lawsuit against Polymer80 in 2020 for illegally advertising and selling untraceable firearms to locals. According to his office, he was the first attorney general in the country to file that kind of a suit against the company, which they say sells gun kits and parts that come without serial numbers or other identification numbers and can be assembled into fully functional, untraceable firearms—including semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and a variety of handguns—in less than two hours. Several other states and municipalities have since filed suit.
According to the office, the District alleged that Polymer80 violated consumer protection law by falsely claiming that its weapons are legal in the District and by selling illegal guns to DC consumers.
In the Aug. 10 judgment, the court affirmed that Polymer80 violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by selling illegal firearms in the District and by making false and misleading claims about the legality of its products. The court ordered Polymer80 to:
- Permanently end sales of its illegal ghost guns to DC consumers: The court permanently banned Polymer80 from selling all handgun frames, lower receivers, or buy, build, shoot kits and any comparable products to District consumers both directly through its own website and indirectly through its dealers and distributors.
- Inform consumers that its products are illegal in DC: The court ordered Polymer80 to inform dealers and distributors that its products cannot be sold to residents of the District of Columbia, and to place prominent notifications on each product page that its products are illegal to purchase and possess in the District of Columbia.
- Pay more than $4 million in penalties: The court found that Polymer80 directly sold 19 firearms to D.C. residents and made illegal misrepresentations to consumers, including falsely claiming that consumers had the right to possess its products in the District and that it had approval to sell firearms to District consumers. These misrepresentations remained on Polymer80’s website for at least 1,198 days. The court imposed civil penalties for each day the misrepresentations were made, and Polymer80 will be required to pay a total of $4,038,000 to the District within 30 days
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, chair of the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, shared his reaction to the ruling Thursday.
“This is great news for D.C. residents and a big win for our efforts to create a sustained, long-lasting drop in gun violence in the District," he said. "I’m grateful to Attorney General Karl Racine and his team for their work in securing this important victory. District law clearly prohibits the sale of these dangerous ghost guns, and the Council will continue to protect residents with common sense and constitutional gun safety laws.”