PA gun show promoter agrees to halt 'ghost gun' kit sales
The largest gun show promoter in Pennsylvania has agreed to stop selling kits used to make so-called "ghost guns", according to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Ghost guns typically start as “80% receivers” that are often sold in kits without background checks. They can be easily and quickly put together, lack serial numbers so they cannot be traced, and, once fully assembled, can operate as fully functioning firearms, according to Shapiro.
The agreement with Eagle Arms Productions follows two surveillance operations by the Office of Attorney General Gun Violence Task Force and comes as the number of ghost guns recovered in Philadelphia is up 152% from 2019-20 and 10,000 recovered nationally in 2019 alone.
“Ghost guns are quickly becoming the weapon of choice for criminals and fueling the gun violence epidemic. These DIY gun kits should be subject to the same background checks and qualifications as fully functioning firearms to prevent criminals who are not legally able to purchase or possess guns from getting their hands on these deadly, untraceable weapons,” said AG Shapiro.
The surveillance operations, conducted in partnership with local and federal law enforcement, tracked the purchasing of Polymer 80% gun kits at the Morgantown Gun Show, hosted by Eagle Arms Productions, to the recovery of 10 fully functional firearms or partially assembled kits in Philadelphia.
From Jan. to April 2021, Eagle Arms had 15 scheduled gun shows and made up 32% of total gun shows for that time.
An OAG investigation resulting from the surveillance operations at an Eagle Arms gun show in Morgantown revealed that a purchaser of 80% receiver kits from the gun show was in a criminal enterprise that made and sold unserialized ghost guns on the streets of Philadelphia, making $500 on each sale.
A second investigation resulting from the same gun show an illegal gun manufacturing and trafficking operation of these ghost guns at a house in Philadelphia while executing a search warrant.
Previous investigations show that ghost guns have been responsible for multiple homicides, including a Polymer80 9mm handgun used in two shooting deaths in July 2020 in Snyder County made from the 80% receiver kits that are now no longer sold at Eagle Arms’ gun shows as a result of the agreement. The defendant charged with the two murders was prohibited from possessing a firearm at the time of the shooting.
To date, 99 ghost guns in 2019, 250 in 2020, and more than 80 to date in 2021 have been recovered in Philadelphia.