City of Philadelphia sues primary distributors of Ghost Guns, Polymer80, Inc. and JSD Supply to stop the distribution of untraceable ghost guns into the city
On July 5, the City of Philadelphia announced that it has filed a lawsuit against defendants Polymer80, Inc. and JSD Supply, which are among the largest suppliers of ghost guns confiscated in Philadelphia, alleging that the named distributors have perpetuated the gun violence crisis and threatened the public’s right to health and safety by marketing, selling, and dispersing unserialized ghost gun kits into Philadelphia.
Through this legal action, the City seeks to stop Polymer80Inc. and JSD Supply from continuing their negligent and illegal business practices, in addition to the payment of damages and the creation of an abatement fund to remediate the harms caused by the defendants due to the use of ghost guns in Philadelphia communities. Hausfeld, along with Giffords Law Center, is acting as outside counsel for the City’s law department.
“Today, the City of Philadelphia is taking a stand against gun violence that kills hundreds of people – including children – every year. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in the criminal use of illegal, unserialized ghost guns, assembled using ghost gun kits sold by Polymer80 Inc. and JSD Supply. These untraceable weapons pose a dire threat to our public health and safety and are often used to inflict violence,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are holding these distributors accountable for supplying ghost guns into our streets and for the havoc they have wreaked in Philadelphia communities. Public safety is our top priority, and we are using every available resource to address and prevent the trauma and irreparable loss caused by gun violence. I am grateful to the Law Department for their efforts to save lives and seek justice through this lawsuit.”
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Deputy Chief Counsel David Pucino commented, “As a gun violence prevention advocate, I know that gun violence happens when someone who should not have a gun is able to access a gun. . . . The two ghost gun companies that the City is suing today do not care who they are selling to, whether it’s someone with a felony record, someone at risk of suicide, a child, or a gun trafficker. That’s not just morally wrong—it’s a violation of Pennsylvania law. I’m proud to stand with the City of Philadelphia to stop this reckless and unlawful conduct and to say that you cannot mortgage our communities’ safety to pad your bottom line.”
Hausfeld worked with the City of Philadelphia and Giffords Law Center to investigate this important matter and are hopeful that this lawsuit will lead to impactful change for those affected by the epidemic of gun violence in the City of Philadelphia and beyond.
The Hausfeld team includes James D. Gotz, Katie R. Beran, Erika A. Inwald, and Angel Dorsey.
About Ghost Guns
A “ghost gun” is a firearm that is privately manufactured, home-assembled, and untraceable. Ghost guns are sold in unfinished, disassembled form and then assembled into fully functional guns by purchasers, at home, using common household tools. Typically, ghost guns (a) start off as an easy-to-finish frame or receiver blank purchased in a kit or separately along with other necessary parts and (b) are assembled by the purchaser into a completed and functional firearm that has no serial number. Ghost guns can be acquired without a background check and have become the weapon of choice for those who cannot legally acquire a firearm, including minors and people with a history of felonies. Additionally, because they are unserialized and cannot be traced by law enforcement to their original purchaser, they are the weapon of choice for illegal gun traffickers and it is unknown how many ghost guns are on the streets of Philadelphia today. Philadelphia law enforcement are increasingly recovering ghost guns in a wide variety of criminal investigations involving drugs, juvenile possession, and intimate partner violence. Ghost guns have also been involved in suicides, where firearm access plays a crucial role in mortality rate of suicide attempts.