Baltimore City has filed a lawsuit against the nation’s largest ghost gun manufacturer, Polymer80, Inc., just as the state’s ghost gun registry law goes into effect.
The Brady Campaign defines “ghost guns” as “unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home.” According to the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD), the City had never recovered a ghost gun before 2018. However, in 2021, BPD recovered 324, or 14% of all firearms recovered. In 2022, to date, BPD has recovered over 187 ghost guns, nearly double the number of last year for the same period and 19% of all firearms recovered thus far.
The Polymer80 lawsuit alleges negligence, public nuisance, and Maryland Consumer Protection Act violations, and seeks the following relief:
- stop the sale of ghost gun parts in Baltimore;
- pay for the injuries and trauma ghost gun violence has inflicted on the city; and
- implement a plan to address the harm caused by Polymer80’s ghost guns.
Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott explained the lawsuit’s intent in a press release:
‘Ghost guns are a devastating menace to the people of Baltimore,’ said Mayor Scott. ‘This lawsuit shines a light on Polymer80 and individuals who routinely create a marketplace for deadly, untraceable weapons. 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. We must stop Polymer80 and companies like it that profit from destroying our communities.’
June 1st marks the first day SB 387 – Public Safety – Untraceable Firearms, passed during the Maryland General Assembly’s 2022 session, goes into effect. The law redefined “firearms” to include unfinished frames or receivers, critical components of ghost gun kits. By revising the definition, serial numbers must be imprinted on all ghost guns as required by federal law for all other firearms.
The purchase, sale, or transfer of a ghost gun without a serial number is now a misdemeanor potentially subject to 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. On March 1, 2023, it will be a misdemeanor to possess a ghost gun without an imprinted serial number.
Marylanders can register their firearms with the state here.