POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah company named in Connecticut ghost gun lawsuit

Mar 13, 2023, 7:00 AM

ghost gun lawsuit...

Connecticut filed suit against four companies, including one based out of Orem, over its ghost gun ban. Photo: Becky Bruce/KSL NewsRadio

HARTFORD, Conn. — A Utah-based company is one of four companies facing a lawsuit from the state of Connecticut over its ghost gun ban, passed in 2019. 

Ghost guns are guns assembled by the owner, rather than purchased whole. Frequently, the components are 3-D printed or purchased online. As such, they do not have serial numbers. 

Connecticut sued AR Industries, based in Orem, along with two Florida companies and a North Carolina company. They stand accused of selling unfinished gun parts to build untraceable firearms. Connecticut’s ghost gun ban applies not just to the finished product but also to the weapon components. 

Utah company named in “ghost gun” lawsuit

The suit, filed in Connecticut state court, accused AR Industries of “unethical, immoral, oppressive, and unscrupulous” practices. 

In announcing the lawsuit, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong pointed out an increase in seizures of ghost guns in the last few years. He cited public data comparing the total number of guns seized in each of the last three years with the number of seized ghost guns.

In Hartford, 7 of the 252 guns seized in 2020 were ghost guns. By 2021, authorities seized 21 ghost guns out of 341 total. And in 2022, the number rose to 57 ghost guns out of a total of 353 guns seized.  

“Each of the Defendants represent or represented to consumers, including those in Connecticut, that they can legally purchase and possess unserialized unfinished frames and lower receivers, falsely claiming that they are merely parts. This is wrong. Since 2019, Connecticut has banned the sale and receipt of unserialized unfinished frames and lower receivers,” the lawsuit stated. “Each of the Defendants not only sell or sold illegal, unserialized unfinished lower receivers to consumers in Connecticut in violation of state law, but each Defendant also mails or mailed these illegal Ghost Gun parts directly to consumers without confirming whether the consumers are licensed to possess a firearm, or first shipping to a federally licensed firearms dealer, as required by law.” 

Claims “baseless,” company owner says

The Associated Press reports the owner of one of the other companies in the lawsuit called the claims baseless.

Lawrence Destefano owns Indie Guns, based out of Orlando. 

“The only reason these lawsuits were filed was to force a settlement that requires the defendant to turn over customer data,” he told the AP by phone. 

None of the other companies returned the AP’s calls requesting comment. 

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