NEW YORK (WHO) — Brownells, an Iowa gun distributor, was sued along with nine other gun distributors by the state of New York for their alleged role in “ghost gun” sales in the state on Wednesday.
Arm or Ally, LLC, 80 Percent Arms, 80P Freedom co., Glockstore, Indie Guns LLC, KM Tactical, Primary Arms LLC, Rainer Arms LLC, and Rockslide USA are the other distributors named in the lawsuit.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said in the lawsuit that the state is “grappling with a public health and safety crisis caused by gun violence.” James goes on to say that a “significant part of that crisis is attributable to an influx of homemade, unserialized guns, commonly known as ghost guns.
According to the lawsuit, the listed gun distributors allegedly sold gun parts called frames and receivers to residents of New York and did not follow state and federal laws while doing so. Frames and receivers are often used to build ‘ghost guns’ or guns that are untraceable for law enforcement.
Ghost guns are privately built and untraceable as the parts used to build them typically do not have serial numbers. These guns can be made from purchasable kits, parts like frames or receivers, or are 3D printed.
The lawsuit states that the gun distributors allegedly did not follow federal requirements of conducting background checks, adding serial numbers to the parts, or recording the sales into law enforcement databases.
A new rule made by the U.S. Department of Justice in April enhances regulation on parts used to build ghost guns. Those federal regulations include conducting background checks, adding serial numbers, and recording the sale of parts and ghost guns.
The ruling also broadened the definition of a firearm. The definition now includes any part, parts kit, etc. that can be turned into a functioning firearm. Ghost guns are now listed as firearms by the federal government due to this ruling. Previously, ghost guns and parts were not included in this definition, allowing their sales to go unregulated.
According to the lawsuit, Brownells allegedly failed to follow state and federal regulations which resulted in a man with an alleged extensive criminal history being able to purchase these parts, build a ghost gun, and shoot three people.
The lawsuit claims New York State investigators placed an undercover purchase around May 27, 2022 of a Polymer80 unfinished frame kit from the Brownells website. Brownells allegedly accepted the order and shipped the kit into Kings County, New York.
Brandon Glaski, resident of East Nassau, New York allegedly purchased unfinished frame kits from Brownells and received them around Dec. 5, 2017. About six months later law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Glaski’s residence and discovered 17 unfinished frame kits.
Glaski had a prior felony conviction and should not have been able to purchase the kits per federal law, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also claims that some of the kits were purchased and shipped from Brownells’ website.
We have reached out to Brownells for their response on the lawsuit and have not yet received a response.