Giffords Law Center Expands Push to Address the Scourge of ‘Ghost Guns’ as New Jersey Law Enforcement Arrests Man for Making & Selling Untraceable Assault Weapons

After targeting two ghost gun sellers with letters in November, Giffords Law Center focuses on on four websites facilitating criminal conduct and enabling dangerous individuals to buy untraceable assault weapons with no background checks

January 26, 2018— Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence expanded its push to address the scourge of do-it-yourself ‘ghost guns’ as New Jersey law enforcement officers seized 30 weapons and arrested a man for making and selling untraceable, illegal firearms from his home. Websites for ghost-gun businesses currently allow dangerous persons to avoid background checks and obtain all the parts to easily build assault weapons and other guns. These self-made guns lack serial numbers required by federal law, a critical tool for law enforcement that allow guns to be traced if they are recovered at a crime scene.

Last November, Giffords Law Center targeted two companies that sell these products, Ghost Guns and Ghost Gunner, calling on the Internet Services Providers that host their websites to take down the sites because they promote unlawful activity. Giffords Law Center has now targeted four additional websites with similar, dangerous marketing practices–like touting that their guns lack serial numbers, and  offering 3-, 5-, and 10-pack discounts that facilitate the manufacture and trafficking of multiple assault weapons.

“These businesses brazenly advertise products that anyone with a criminal record can buy to build illegal, untraceable assault weapons—with no background checks—delivered straight to their door,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “These sites put profits ahead of public safety and the safety of the law enforcement officers sworn to protect them. There’s no reason someone who fails a background check at a gun store should be able to turn around and buy an assault weapon online, and the companies that enable illegal gun trafficking must take steps to stop it.”

Giffords sent letters calling for Internet Service Providers to disable the websites of four businesses that are allowing individuals who are legally barred from buying a firearm to buy materials and tools that allow them to assemble guns themselves. They went to: Shopify, the web host for Daytonatactical.com and 80-Lower.com, Google Cloud Platform, the web host for AR15-Lower.com, and Cloudflare, which provides a reverse proxy service for AmericansWeaponsComponents.com.

Ghost guns have been linked to a growing number of crimes. Law enforcement officials in South New Jersey this week seized more than 30 weapons and arrested a man for building and selling ghost guns. Last November, a mass shooting that left six dead in Tehama County, California, was carried out by a shooter prohibited from owning guns and charged with multiple crimes who made two assault weapons with parts ordered online.

The firearms that are manufactured using parts and tools sold by the companies cannot be traced by law enforcement because they lack serial numbers.  And because the guns are illegal in multiple states, the companies aid and abet violations of various laws, in violation of the Internet Service Providers’ Acceptable Use Policies and Terms of Service.

The letters, sent on behalf of Giffords Law Center by their counsel at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, pointed out that:

  • The Internet Service Providers’ policies prohibit their customers from engaging in illegal activities and promoting illegal activities by consumers, and they allow the ISPs to shut down the websites they host at will

  • The ISPs should disable the websites, which sell deadly, unlawful products

  • Online purchases from the websites allows purchasers to avoid requisite background checks and to make firearms that cannot be traced by law enforcement

  • The websites’ products are illegal in multiple states, and aid and abet violations of state law by their customers

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