Polymer80 is the Nation’s Largest Producer of Ghost Gun Kits and Component Parts; Between January 2020 and February 2023, the Los Angeles Police Department Recovered More Than 4,200 Ghost Guns Made by Polymer80
LOS ANGELES – Today, Everytown Law announced that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez, who were ambushed and seriously wounded in a 2020 shooting with a ghost gun made by Polymer80, have reached a settlement in their 2021 lawsuit against Polymer80. The settlement – the terms of which are confidential – comes as the shooter involved in the 2020 incident was sentenced to 166 years in prison after a jury convicted him on 10 counts, including attempted murder. The shooter, who had previously been convicted of a felony, was able to acquire a ghost gun assembled from a kit sold by Polymer80 despite being prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms legally. Polymer80 is the nation’s largest producer of ghost gun kits and component parts.
“In the aftermath of the 2020 shooting that left me and my partner wounded, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this deadly weapon never should have been in the hands of the shooter. However, because Polymer80 has found a way to circumvent the law, a dangerous man with a violent history was able to obtain a gun,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Claudia Apolinar. “While nothing will take away the pain and difficulty I have experienced since that day, this settlement is a powerful reminder that in the wake of tragedy, we can move the needle forward by holding accountable gun manufacturers who put our communities at risk with their reckless behavior.”
“The shooter who ambushed my partner and I never should have been able to get their hands on a weapon,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Emmanuel Perez. “It’s common sense that selling unserialized gun-building kits without background checks and no questions asked would result in prohibited criminals getting their hands on lethal weapons. Polymer80 and other ghost gun companies should not be able to operate above the law and I’m grateful to see justice through this settlement agreement.”
“By selling do-it-yourself gun kits to individuals without background checks or serial numbers, Polymer80 fueled a market that put deadly, untraceable weapons into the wrong hands, including many convicted felons” said Len Kamdang, Director of Litigation Strategy and Trials at Everytown Law. “For too long, Polymer80 has acted as if they are above the law, but this settlement is a critical step forward in holding the company accountable for its reckless practices that have helped to facilitate gun violence in our communities.”
“Our clients understand firsthand the deadly impacts of selling ghost gun kits, no questions asked,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney Sara Peters with the Walkup law firm. “By reaching this significant settlement, we are ensuring that Polymer80 is held accountable for their reckless and outright illegal business practices that have put our communities, including our first responders, like Sheriff’s Deputies Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez, in the line of fire.”
The lawsuit alleged the ghost gun used to shoot the deputies was sold and assembled in violation of federal and California gun laws requiring serial numbers and background checks. More specifically, the complaint alleges that Polymer80:
- Knew its gun-building kits would be especially attractive to criminals because of the absence of serial numbers and background checks;
- Failed to take reasonable steps to prevent guns built from its kits from ending up in the hands of persons prohibited by law from having guns, including the shooter; and
- Created a direct and secondary market that put untraceable, no-background check guns in the hands of prohibited persons, foreseeably resulting in the use of its firearms in criminal acts, including the shooting of the plaintiffs.
The case was one of several cases against the ghost guns industry that Everytown Law has filed:
- With the Los Angeles City Attorney, Everytown recently announced a $5 million settlement from Polymer80, which agreed as part of the settlement to permanently cease sales of ghost gun-building kits in California, directly or through third parties, and to stop assisting individuals in California attempting to assemble ghost guns.
- A recently filed suit against ghost gun kit online seller 80P Builder for selling an 18-year-old a ghost gun-building kit without conducting a background check or age verification, resulting in the 2021 fatal shooting of two Virginia teenagers.
Between January 2020 and February. 2, 2023, the Los Angeles Police Department recovered more than 4,200 ghost guns made by Polymer80, whose kits can be assembled into fully functioning weapons in about an hour. Polymer80 ghost guns were by far the most common ghost guns LAPD recovered during that time frame.
The Washington Post recently reported on how American teenagers can, with ease, acquire the parts for ghost guns, often leading to deadly outcomes. Everytown Law recently filed a suit in Virginia on behalf of the estates of two 17-year-old Virginians who were shot and killed by an 18-year-old classmate using an unserialized, self-assembled ghost gun purchased from ghost gun seller 80P Builder.
ATF estimates that more than 45,000 ghost guns have been recovered by law enforcement between 2016 and 2021, and local law enforcement agencies are seeing staggering increases in rates of recovery — rising as much as 100 percent in the last three years in places like San Diego and Los Angeles. Other communities have seen significant ghost gun recoveries, with sharp increases in the past year. In 2022, ATF recovered 25,785 ghost guns in domestic seizures, as well as 2,453 through international operations. So far in 2023, the Department has recovered more than 10,000 privately made firearms (PMF’s) domestically and 1,000 internationally. According to the LAPD, the department recovered 1,921 ghost guns in 2021, more than double the 813 ghost guns recovered in 2020. In Philadelphia, police reported recovering 571 ghost guns, compared to 95 in 2019 and 250 in 2020. Ghost guns have also been weapons of choice for militant right-wing extremists and people who otherwise would not be able to pass a background check. In recent months, the country has also seen an increase of gun fire on school grounds with ghost guns and recoveries of ghost guns on campuses. Schools in Arizona, New Mexico, Maryland, and Kansas have been devastated with these instances of gun fire on school grounds – highlighting a scary trend and another important reason to regulate these guns.
Everytown has compiled examples of ghost gun shootings from across the country since 2013, available here. Everytown’s report on ghost guns, featuring testimonials from law enforcement officers, can be found here.
Plaintiffs Sheriff’s Deputies Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez are represented by Everytown Law, the largest and most experienced team of litigators in the United States working full-time to advance gun violence prevention in the courts, alongside California law firm Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. The Everytown Law team representing the plaintiffs includes Eric Tischwell, Executive Director and Chief Litigation Counsel; Len Kamdang, Director, Litigation Strategy and Trials; Jed Miller, Senior Counsel, Andrew Nellis, Counsel, and Emily Walsh, Litigation Fellow. The plaintiffs are represented in their individual capacities. Neither the L.A. County Sheriff nor the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is a party to the lawsuit or represented by either law firm.