Prominent 80 percent component manufacturer Polymer80 was raided by the ATF, reports the Wall Street Journal. Widely described as “ghost guns” by gun-control activists, 80 percent parts are not firearms and can be purchased without going through an FFL.
According to the warrant, federal agents claimed that Polymer80’s “Buy Build Shoot Kit” however, was a firearm, not an 80 percent part. The kit paired 80 percent receivers with the parts necessary to perform the manufacturing, and make a product that would classify as a firearm by ATF rules.
Polymer80 issued a short statement following the Thursday night raid.
“Over the past few years, and at the present time, Polymer80 has had numerous contacts from federal, state, and local law enforcement officials across the country,” the company said on Facebook. “In each such instance, when properly and lawfully so approached, Polymer80 has expended best efforts to fully cooperate with law enforcement.”
“This practice is consistent with Polymer80’s hard-earned reputation as an industry leader and responsible corporate citizen. Indeed, the company takes its legal obligations seriously, just as it does its treasured and fruitful relationships with its customers and independent dealers.”
“In short, Polymer80 is committed to discharging all of its responsibilities and duties as to them, as well as vigorously protecting its rights under the law. We will continue to monitor all developments as they arise,” they said.
No arrests were made and no charges have been filed. Still, it’s not clear what this means for Polymer80 and the 80 percent scene in general.
The majority of 80 percent parts are used within the gun industry. These unfinished components are critical for manufacturers big and small, and only a small portion of them are used by home gunsmiths to produce handmade firearms.
Still, because buyers do not have to undergo background checks to purchase 80 percent parts and kits, some of them are used to manufacture firearms for illegal markets. According to the ATF, law enforcement agencies recovered as many as 10,000 illegal firearms built using 80 percent receivers in 2019.
That being said, the ATF previously green-lit the sale of kits by Polymer80. Many manufacturers offer 80 percent parts and kits and have for many years. This follows the Brady Campaign’s pledge to file lawsuits against these companies.
See Also: ATF answers critical questions on 80 percent receivers: are they legal, are they firearms?
Just this month the anti-gun group Brady United filed a lawsuit naming 13 defendants in a first-of-its-kind suit.
“We shouldn’t have to say that those convicted of violent felonies and other people who are legally prohibited from possessing guns should not be able to possess guns. But some businesses put us all at risk by selling to virtually anyone DIY kits that can then be easily assembled into illegal, deadly, and untraceable assault weapons, all without a Brady background check or paper trail,” said Jonathan Lowy, a Brady attorney.
“After years of regulatory failure, this is a first step in addressing the clear threat posed by ghost guns,” said Everytow’s Eric Tirschwell. “What happens next is critical. With ghost guns turning up at crime scenes across the country, the ATF must make clear that federal gun laws apply to their core components — including requirements for background checks and serial numbers. We will keep pressing our case in court unless and until ATF shuts down this illegal and life-threatening industry.”
While it isn’t clear if these lawsuits will have any real effect on the world of 80 percent manufacturing, the ATF raid will absolutely. Time will tell how the gun industry and gun-rights advocates respond.