Dayton firearms business raided by ATF
A Dayton firearms manufacturer was raided in the pre-dawn hours Dec. 10 by ATF agents who accuse the company of numerous gun law violations including selling to ex-felons and other prohibited persons.
According to a 119-page affidavit filed in Reno’s U.S. District Court, Polymer80, “appears not to abide by the rules and regulations governing the sale and disposition of firearms including laws and regulations pertaining to the FFLs (Federal Firearms Licensees).”
The company came under scrutiny after it began selling a “Buy, Build and Shoot” kit for $590 that Polymer80 advertised as including, “all the necessary components to build a completed firearm.”
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents went online earlier this year and bought several of the kits.
“Polymer80 did not request or require a date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number or other identifier necessary to verify the buyer’s identity and, which I know based on my training, and experience, is required in order to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check System Background check to allow an FFL to legally sell or transfer a firearm,” said Special Agent Tolliver Hart in the affidavit.
He said, instead, the buyer was simply asked to check a box indicating that he or she isn’t a felon and hasn’t been prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm.
He said the pistols are described as “ghost guns” because they have no manufacturer’s marks or serial numbers on them. He said the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network entered 1,475 ghost guns into its database in 2019 and 1,278 of them, about 86 percent, were made using Polymer80 frames.
The court documents charge that Polymer80 weapons were used in “hundreds of crimes throughout the United States,” everything from domestic battery to kidnapping, carjackings, robberies and homicides.
After the second purchase of two 9mm pistol kits, agents turned one of them over to an auto mechanic who, the affidavit says, needed just 21 minutes to assemble it into a functioning semi-automatic pistol.
Using records from the commercial shipper and credit card processer Polymer80 uses, ATF agents found that the company has shipped some 1,490 of the Buy Build and Shoot kits across the country, nearly all of them to other states in violation of the Gun Control Act. There were also records of shipments to international couriers in Maryland and California who ship to other countries.
Using those records, the affidavit says agents have also identified numerous customers who are not allowed to buy or possess firearms including ex-felons and teenagers.
Polymer80 took to social media to respond.
“We understand that a lot of you have questions about this week’s events. Rest assured that we are actively pushing for additional information and transparency, while assessing the limited information made available to us. For that reason, we have elected not to comment publicly on the specific events that transpired, but you will hear from us in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we urge you to look at our track record and history. We have vigorously defended the personal liberties of our customers, and we will continue to fight for our customers, while continuing to operate within the bounds of – and supporting – the U.S. Constitution and the law. Your right to build in the privacy of your own home is a principal foundation that started this company, and we fully intend to take action to preserve it,” the company said on Facebook on Dec. 12.
An ATF spokeswoman said the agency couldn’t comment because the investigation is still open.
Polymer80 officials posted messages on their website saying they have had numerous contacts with federal, state and local law enforcement over the years and have always cooperated fully.
“Indeed the company takes its legal obligations seriously, just as it does its treasured and fruitful relationships with its customers and independent dealers,” says the first statement posted the day after the raid.
The second, posted Dec. 12 said it was still “business as usual” continuing to produce their 80 percent products, a reference to the fact the law allows production of weapon components that are only 80 percent refined, allowing firearm enthusiasts to complete the work themselves.