Federal agents this morning raided Polymer80, one of the largest makers of firearm build kits, which are chided as ‘ghost guns’ by the left. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms seized records from the company’s headquarters near Carson City, Nevada on Friday. The agency claims Polymer80 is illegally manufacturing and distributing firearms, failing to pay taxes, shipping guns across state lines, and not conducting background checks on buyers.
The probe centers on the company’s “Buy, Build, Shoot” kits, which include parts to fabricate a handgun at home without the need to buy anything from a gun dealer. The component at question is the company’s unfinished pistol frame included with the kits. It’s called an 80% lower by the industry and coined a “receiver blank” by the ATF. In a letter provided by the agency, Polymer80’s blanks were determined in 2017 to not meet the definition of a firearm. All other parts in the kits are not firearms under federal law. Yet the ATF now alleges the company is selling guns without a license.
This is just the latest sign the agency is now going after non-firearm retailers, specifically those who make and sell 80% lowers. With gun sales shattering records and Coronavirus crippling the economy, FFLs and online gun dealers have all but emptied their shelves. That’s made gun kits and firearms blanks popular alternatives for Americans who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights. And the practice of building a gun at home has always been legal. Written in the Gun Control Act of 1968 and confirmed by ATF on their own website, the law says it is perfectly fine to build a gun at home without a license.
The agency is ignoring these precedents at the command of the incoming Biden camp. The raid on Polymer80 signals litigation is already being sought by the government after a secret meeting was held last month between Biden’s advisers and ATF executives. In a leaked conference call, acting ATF Director Regina Lombardo, Deputy Director Marvin Richardson, and Acting Assistant Director of Enforcement Programs and Services Curtis Gilbert were told to prioritize action against 80% lowers, gun kits, and pistol braces.
Steam is building against gun rights elsewhere, too. Biden’s pick to lead Health and Human Services, California AG Xavier Becerra, joined forces with gun control groups in a lawsuit against the ATF months ago. The suit sought to compel the agency to redefine 80% lowers and gun blanks as actual firearms. Everytown for Gun Safety rode the bandwagon and demanded Friday that Biden use executive action to impose gun restrictions in his first 100 days, to include a ban on receiver blanks. The anti-gun group is owned by Michael Bloomberg, who poured tens of millions of dollars from his personal fortune into Biden’s campaign. We covered some of the most draconian gun control measures Biden promised on the campaign trail:
- Removing gun makers’ federal protections again frivolous civil suits
- Reinstating a federal assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban
- Banning the manufacturer and sale of all other defined “assault weapons”
- Requiring gun owners register their “assault weapons” as NFA weapons
- Requiring forced gun buybacks and high-capacity magazine buybacks
- Implementing controversial Red Flag gun seizure laws at the federal level
- Ending the sale of all online firearms, gun parts, and ammunition
That last declaration is worrying, and it’s apparent wheels are now in motion to take action against the entire firearm industry. AmmoLand has reported the ATF’s rogue law enforcement side has begun targeting pistol brace manufacturers. Q LLC, which makes the Honey Badger AR-15 Pistol, went public with a cease-and-desist letter sent by the ATF. In the letter the agency claimed the pistol’s stabilizing brace made the firearm a short-barreled rifle instead, which require special licensing and taxes paid for sale and ownership. Public pressure forced the agency to give Q LLC a 60-day reprieve. But Friday’s raid on Polymer80 shows 2021 will be a heated battle for gun rights, one that reaches beyond gun dealers and into the general consumer market.