MANHATTAN (CN) — The first-of-its-kind nuisance lawsuit over the sale of kits to make "ghost guns" drove one retailer to reach a settlement with New York City, with plans for at least two more deals on the horizon.
Rock Slide USA abandoned its defense of the case that the city brought in June, saying it will retrofit its ordering platforms within two weeks to prohibit any resident of New York City or any address located within the city from completing online, digital or telephone sales and shipments of unfinished gun frames or receivers. By ordering a gun in parts, purchasers not only get around statutory background checks but serial numbers as well, making their weapon untraceable.
The city’s complaint came after undercover investigators with the New York City Sheriff’s Office were able to purchase from Rock Slide’s website a Polymer80 PF940C unserialized, “unfinished” frame, slide, internal upper parts kit, recoil spring and guide rod, lower parts kit with trigger, and 32-round magazine — all to be delivered to an address in Manhattan. Rock Slide does not require customers to have a valid state or city license or permit, and it did not perform a background check on the buyer.
Ian Frampton, who owns the Broadway, North Carolina-based Rock Slide, signed off on the settlement made public Tuesday, as did Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, an attorney for the city.
“Defendant Rock Slide shall immediately permanently cease, and is hereby permanently enjoined from, selling or otherwise disposing of unfinished frames or receivers to any resident of New York City and from shipping, causing to ship, delivering or causing to deliver unfinished frames or receivers to any address located within New York City,” the settlement states.
Frampton did not immediately respond to request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
In the coming days, Rainier Arms, based in North Auburn, Washington, and Largo, Florida-based Salvo Technologies, doing business as 80P Builder, will finalize their own settlements with the city.
Attorneys for the companies described their progress Tuesday afternoon in a telephone conference with U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, who authorized Rock Slide’s settlement order.
Another two gun distributors that the city sued in June face a motion for injunctive relief. Furman on Tuesday set a briefing schedule for these entities — Arm or Ally, based in Kansas City, Missouri, and Indie Guns, based in Orlando, Florida — to respond.
New York City’s complaint was announced on June 29 in tandem with a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James against 10 online gun sellers. The AG's case was filed in state court, however, under a new law that allows the Empire State to target gun makers as public nuisances.
James seeks restitution for gun violence victims as well to stop the companies from sending gun parts into New York.
The lawsuits were filed days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a century-old New York gun law restricting who can carry a concealed handgun in public.
“These are dangerous weapons,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in June at a Manhattan news conference with James and other officials.
“We should not think these are just kits used for hobbyists. They are being used by murderers. All of them are illegal,” said Adams, himself a former New York City police officer.
While the cases are civil matters, assistant U.S. attorneys from Southern District of New York filed a letter with the court earlier Tuesday that says the federal government is “actively considering” whether to file a statement of interest in the case.
On August 24, 2022, a new regulation issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in April is set to broaden the language of ghost gun regulations, clarifying that the terms “frame” and “receiver” shall include “a partially complete, disassembled, or nonfunctional frame or receiver, including a frame or receiver parts kit, that is designed to or may readily be completed, assembled, restored, or otherwise converted to function as a frame or receiver.”
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.