NY AG Letitia James Claims A Victory With $7.8 Million Judgement Against a Florida ‘Ghost Gun’ Parts Seller

letitita james
courtesy C-SPAN

Trumpeting a win against a “ghost gun” company, New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced a $7.8 million judgement and injunction against a Florida company, Indie Guns, LLC, for “illegally selling ghost gun components in New York.”

Under New York law, selling an unfinished frame or receiver is a felony. And according to James, Indie Guns has sold “tens of thousands of its products to New Yorkers.”

Further, she claims, the stated goal of Indie Guns owner Lawrence Destefano — as he related to undercover agents — was to sell as many “unserialized, untraceable, unregistered gun components” as possible to “flood this damn market.”

That wasn’t a good look or a smart comment.

Nine other companies are still being sued for violating the New York statute. The Attorney General’s complaint alleges that each of them was “caught” shipping unfinished frames or receivers to undercover New York officers between June of 2016 and July of 2022.

James’ office further alleges that “individuals went on to commit crimes involving (those) ghost guns in New York.” None of the components were serialized or traceable, key requirements for “ghosts” that might be one of several points of contention if and when the suit comes to trial.

The New York Attorney General’s office released this photo of one of the “ghost gun” completion kits as their proof that the kits were designed to be converted into untraceable, unregistered firearms “in only moments.”

The ten companies named in the original suit: Brownells, Inc., Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, Salvo Technologies, Inc., G.S. Performance, LLC, Indie Guns, LLC, Primary Arms, LLC, Arm or Ally, LLC, Rainier Arms, LLC, KM Tactical LLC, and Rock Slide USA, LLC. They filed a joint federal motion to to dismiss the lawsuit in February.

The companies argue, among other things, that the components, at the time of their sale, were legal under ATF guidance. They further argued that selling legal components should be protected under both the provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act and the Second Amendment.

Federal District Judge Jesse Furman denied those arguments, ruling the case against the retailers is “sufficient to proceed.” Judge Furman also denied a request to separate four defendants including Brownells, Inc. from the other companies.

The Outdoor Wire Digital Network spoke briefly with Brownells chairman Pete Brownell regarding the New York AG’s press release and the allegations against his company. Brownell’s response was simple: “We followed the law and regulations and we will continue to defend.”

After speaking with sources with first-hand knowledge of the New York investigation, there is at least one element of the investigation that the New York Attorney General’s office won’t be rushing to disclose.

That key element? How the AG’s office actually arrived at the numbers of unfinished components/”ghost guns” they claim were sent to New York. Their “rigorous” undercover investigation, we’re told, wasn’t based on examination of the content of packages shipped to New York. There was no verification that the packages actually contained unfinished receivers.

Rather than open packages for verification, investigators simply weighed packages sent to New York by the targeted ten companies. If the package was the same weight as a package containing “ghost gun components,” it was counted as a “ghost gun” shipment. Again, the actual packages were never opened and examined to confirm their contents.

The Outdoor Wire Digital Network has learned that the actual numbers of components sold by the ten companies varies greatly from the numbers alleged by the Attorney General. One company (we’re not disclosing which one due to the ongoing litigation) told us that their actual sales records for the period cited in the AG’s suit showed a total of seven potentially qualifying sales actually made to customers in New York.

No one we’ve spoken with at the companies dismiss the suit as frivolous, but they weren’t also reluctant to call the charges “questionable” “ridiculous” or “another example of how politicians try to interpret law to fit their personal position when it comes to guns.”

This is a developing story and, as usual, we’ll keep you posted.


3 Responses

  1. Brownells being an Iowa based company, I am irritated our state gov doesnt tell NY to eat a bag of дicks or otherwise try to screw over NY in retaliation

    1. the lawyers for brownells with prevail in getting this frivolous lawsuit dismissed. no government involvement needed, thank you

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