ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State Attorney General Letitia James orders 28 firearms sellers to immediately stop selling and advertising parts used to make homemade, untraceable guns, known as ghost guns. Some of the businesses identified by the New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG) were selling kits that contained unfinished frames and the tools needed to put a finished gun together at home.
New York law prohibits the sale, exchange, or disposal of unfinished frames and receivers. This enforcement action is the result of the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act and the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act, which recently came into effect and criminalizes the sale of ghost guns and requires gunsmiths to register and serialize all such firearms.
An investigation by the OAG found that 28 firearms sellers across the state advertised and/or offered to sell one or more unfinished frames, receivers, and/or kits containing both. The OAG’s investigation found that a majority of these gun sellers were located in Western New York and on Long Island.
In cease-and-desist letters to all 28 dealers, James ordered these businesses to immediately stop advertising and selling the prohibited parts and warned of the legal consequences, including imprisonment, if they do not comply, according to the OAG. Nine of these businesses are in Western New York, six on Long Island, five in Central New York, four in the Hudson Valley, two in the Southern Tier, and one in the Capital Region
The OAG’s investigation found that most of these firearms sellers advertised the prohibited unfinished receivers, frames, and kits online or at gun shows. They advertised them on their websites, with some allowing consumers to buy online and others telling consumers to call and ask for the price, according to the OAG.
The OAG identified the following illegal products advertised by these gun dealers:
Unfinished receivers and frames, also known as 80% frames, do not have serial numbers and can easily be used to make untraceable guns, or ghost guns, at home using basic tools, says the OAG. Unfinished receivers hold the upper, lower, and rear portions of a semiautomatic rifle together. Purchasers of unfinished receivers only have to make a few small changes to transform an unfinished receiver into a fully operational one, says the OAG.
In New York State, it is illegal for any person not licensed as a gunsmith or dealer in firearms to knowingly possess an unfinished frame or receiver, and false or misleading advertisements about the legal risks of buying an unfinished frame or receiver could subject them to disgorgement, restitution, and penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation, according to the OAG. James has taken more than 3,000 firearms, including dozens of ghost guns, out of communities through gun buyback events and takedowns of violent drug and crime rings since taking office in 2019, says the OAG.