What would the residents of New York State do if they didn’t have Attorney General Letitia James to protect them from metal and plastic parts? Not to mention her work investigating Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, of course.
Her latest anti-gun stunt: she has demanded — for the media’s benefit at least — that a number of “ghost gun” sellers stop selling and shipping metal parts to New York State addresses.
From the NY Attorney General website:
AG James Pumps Brakes On Online “Ghost Gun” Sellers, Orders Cease And Desist Of Sales Into New York
Companies Purport to Sell Partially Milled Firearms Components
Despite State Assault Weapons Ban
So, she wants to ban machined parts? What’s next, oil filters? Fender washers?
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that she has directed the operators of 16 websites that manufacture and/or sell firearms or firearms components to “cease and desist” selling nearly complete assault weapons into New York State. The possession, manufacture, and sale of assault weapons is illegal in New York, but these companies have been providing the means to violate the state’s assault weapons ban, and often specifically advertise their products as a way to evade law enforcement with phrases like, “If they don’t know you have it, they can’t take it.”
Well, that’s exactly right. If they don’t know you have it, they don’t know to knock on your door to take it.
“There is only one purpose for the products that these companies are selling — to manufacture illegal and deadly assault weapons,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “The proliferation of these types of weapons has not only caused indescribable suffering across the country, but gravely endanger every New Yorker. We must make sure that these illegal and untraceable guns are not built in New York.”
Only one purpose? No. And end user could finish it into a New York-legal rifle. Once again, it seems AG James missed the class on Constitutional law. Maybe she was out protesting global warming or welcoming illegal aliens to New York.
Either way, the Constitution says something about “shall not be infringed.” We shall see how the New York SAFE Act fares after the NY State Rifle and Pistol Association SCOTUS decision comes down next year. But in the meantime, she includes this handy tutorial on what makes a gun a gun . . .
Figure 1 – The lower receiver as part of a rifle.
The companies are all offering for sale partially milled, or machined, lower receivers and shipping them to New York State residents for assembly into illegal assault weapons.
Again, not necessarily illegal home defense or police patrol-type rifles.
Composed of either metal or plastic, the lower receiver holds the upper, lower, and rear portions of the firearm together and is responsible for the actual “firing” of the bullet. Aside from a fully assembled firearm, the lower receiver is the only piece that is independently considered a firearm and is thus subject to federal regulation. However, an incomplete lower receiver — lacking certain holes, slots, or cavities — is not considered a firearm. These companies have been marketing their lower receivers as “80%” complete, in order to evade federal regulations.
Freedom is not a loophole.
Purchasers on these websites must only make a few small changes with a common drill press to transform an unfinished receiver into a fully operational one. Once milled, the receiver may be readily assembled into an illegal assault weapon, typically unregistered and not branded with a serial number.
Our Founding Fathers must surely be repenting in Heaven for the pains they endured to secure independence for our nation.
Figure 2 – An illustrative example of an Unfinished and Finished Lower Receiver and the Differences Between Them
These companies call their products “ghost guns” because they are virtually untraceable.
We didn’t name them. Gun grabbers named them.
They do not require that the buyer hold a federal firearms license or submit to a background check. Many of these sellers also offer for sale specialized jigs — or stencil-like precision tools that help guide a drill press — that are specifically designed to aid the milling process for a lower receiver.
Figure 3 – Lower receivers for sale on one of the websites sent a cease and desist letter.
Oh the humanity!
In her cease and desist letter, Attorney General James argues that these sellers are unlawfully promoting the possession of illegal weapons and do not adequately warn consumers that manufacturing or assembling an assault weapon in New York State is illegal, which could subject them to disgorgement, restitution, and penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.
Figure 4 – One of the websites sent a cease and desist letter describes how their products can help evade law enforcement, stating “If they don’t know you have it, they can’t take it.”
In the past, the Office of the Attorney General has actively fought the proliferation of ghost guns on New York’s streets. In September 2015, the office announced a thirty-two count indictment in “Operation Ghostbuster,” which marked the first time a state law enforcement agency indicted, and subsequently prosecuted, individuals on charges of assembling and selling ghost guns.
There’s only one problem with all of this. Neither selling the parts or using them to build rifles is illegal in the state of New York. By sending the cease and desist letters, James is trying to intimidate sellers of unfinished lowers into halting sales to New Yorkers with no basis in law behind her. Again, these legal parts can be used to assemble rifles that comply fully with current New York state law.
Thankfully, AG James’ office will probably have plenty of gun-related litigation to deal with once the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association decision comes down. Plenty that won’t involve harassing people engaged in the lawful commerce of metal and plastic parts.
Because the last I heard, gang-bangers don’t have build parties.