Mayor Adams slams spike in ghost guns and calls for manufacturer to be stripped of federal license

NYC Mayor Eric Adams is calling on the Biden administration to yank the federal firearms license of a Nevada company that sells parts and kits for ghost guns, firearms without serial numbers that have been increasingly turning up at crime scenes around the U.S.

Mayor Eric Adams joined with gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety on Wednesday to publicly call for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to immediately revoke the license of a Polymer80, Inc., alleging the company has violated federal gun laws requiring background checks of purchasers and serial numbers, among other measures.

Adams said ghost guns have been a growing contributor to gun violence and gun-related homicides in New York City. 

‘We must get ghost guns out of our communities, and those that manufacture them must be shut down,’ said Mayor Adams. 

‘The bad guys are outpacing us,’ he continued. ‘We are too slow to identify and correct the loopholes in violence.’

Since January alone, the NYPD has already taken approximately 200 ghost guns off the streets, up from 148 in 2020. NYPD also reports that approximately 90 percent of ghost guns year after year include Polymer80 parts.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams is calling on the Biden administration to yank the federal firearms license of a Nevada company that sells parts and kits for ghost guns – on the afternoon that a 17-year-old was shot in Queens

Adams said ghost guns have been a growing contributor to gun violence and gun-related homicides in New York City

Adams said ghost guns have been a growing contributor to gun violence and gun-related homicides in New York City

The push comes as the Biden administration is working to crack down on sellers of ghost guns. 

A recently unveiled new rule will change the definition of a firearm and require federally licensed gun dealers to add serial numbers to ghost guns and unfinished parts of guns, and to run background checks on their buyers – just like they do for commercially made firearms. The rule is scheduled to take effect in August.

But Adams and Everytown contend that Polymer80´s sales could be considered violations of other federal guns laws already in effect and called on the ATF to revoke the company’s license.

In their letter, Adams and Everytown said they were ‘deeply concerned’ that the company continues to keep its federal license ‘despite clear evidence of numerous willful violations’ of the law.

The New York City Police Department linked a shooting last month in the Bronx that left a 16-year-old girl dead and two other teens injured to a ghost gun assembled from a Polymer80 kit, the city said.

Allowing it to keep the license ‘would also send a terrible message to bad actors in this industry and would be wholly inconsistent with the administration´s crackdown on ghost gun sellers and its `zero tolerance´ approach to wayward gun manufacturers and sellers,’ the letter said.

Adams’ comments on Wednesday come on the same afternoon that a 17-year-old boy was shot in the left arm outside of a Queens high school around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. 

Adams' comments on Wednesday come on the same afternoon that a 17-year-old boy was shot in the left arm outside of a Queens high school around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday afternoon

Adams’ comments on Wednesday come on the same afternoon that a 17-year-old boy was shot in the left arm outside of a Queens high school around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday afternoon

The teen is a student at Maspeth High School and ran into the school after he was hit

The teen is a student at Maspeth High School and ran into the school after he was hit

The teen is a student at Maspeth High School and ran into the school after he was hit, PIX11 reported. 

The teen was taken to the hospital with a non-fatal injury, police said. Two male suspects were taken into police custody, according to the NYPD.

Adams, a Democrat, has made cracking down on rising violent crime a chief focus of his new administration. He even hosted President Joe Biden in February as they pledged to work closely together to combat gun violence, with a particular focus on the proliferation of ghost guns. He is one of the co-chairs of Everytown’s group of mayors fighting illegal guns, and his communications director is the organization’s former chief public affairs officer.

The NYPD said thus far this year, it has taken about 200 ghost guns off the street, compared with 148 for the entire year in 2020. The weapons are a fraction of roughly 2,600 illegal firearms recovered in New York City this year.

Polymer80 has been targeted by other elected officials and law enforcement departments around the U.S., including the ATF, and Everytown.

Everytown last year joined the city of Los Angeles to sue Polymer80 for allegedly creating a public nuisance and violating the state´s business code. Two Los Angeles County sheriff´s deputies badly wounded in an ambush shooting sued the company in August for making parts of a ghost gun used in the attack and the attorney general of Washington, D.C., has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming it violated D.C. gun laws.

The ATF served a search warrant on the company in December 2020 as it investigated whether the company violated gun laws by making and selling gun kits. The company notes on its website that the kits do not fall under the federal definition of a firearm or firearm ‘frames or receivers.’

Polymer80 did not immediately respond to a message from DailyMail.com seeking comment.

The ATF served a search warrant on the company in December 2020 as it investigated whether the company violated gun laws by making and selling gun kits

The ATF served a search warrant on the company in December 2020 as it investigated whether the company violated gun laws by making and selling gun kits

An overhead view of the premises search in 2020

An overhead view of the premises search in 2020

Polymer80, a Nevada based company, is, by far, the largest source of ghost guns used in crimes and recovered by law enforcement nationally, accounting for over 86 percent of the 1,475 ghost guns entered into ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network database in 2019.

‘Polymer80’s entire business operation presents a clear and present danger to public safety through New York and the entire country — not only selling guns, but also marketing an entire lifestyle brand that celebrates violence and lawlessness. As mayor of the largest city in America, a former police officer, and co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, I have a message for Polymer80: We will not surrender our city to a violent few. No one is above the law. And the law is coming for you.’

Critics say the arrest is the wrong approach to reduce crime in New York City, which is up by 41.26 percent from last year

Critics say the arrest is the wrong approach to reduce crime in New York City, which is up by 41.26 percent from last year

‘Our job is to keep people safe, and we will do everything possible to keep that promise we make each day, to every New Yorker,’ said NYPD Commissioner Sewell. ‘And as we continue to tackle this public safety crisis head-on, our focus and attention is clear: Seize the guns and arrest the individuals who possess them. Stop the shootings, and save lives.’

‘Ghost guns are a dream come true for criminals, so it should come as little surprise that Polymer80, the largest maker of these untraceable weapons, has shipped its deadly goods to felons,’ said John Feinblatt, president, Everytown for Gun Safety. ‘Now that President Biden has taken action against ghost guns, it’s time for ATF to do its job and shut down Polymer80.’

‘Ghost guns are the fastest-growing gun safety threat in the nation, and Polymer80 leads the pack in flooding our streets with these deadly, untraceable firearms,’ said Nick Suplina, senior vice president of law and policy, Everytown for Gun Safety. 

‘This manufacturer has operated with impunity for far too long. The ATF should shut down Polymer80 now and put an end to this clear and present danger to public safety.’

The request to revoke the company’s license comes after Adams addressed a shooting on Tuesday night, which saw suspect Rameek Smith shoot the officer 

The 32-year-old officer, Dennis Vargas, was treated and released from Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx early Wednesday, after a fierce gun battle that left the suspect, a career criminal freed ahead of a planned sentencing for a prior gun arrest, dead

The 32-year-old officer, Dennis Vargas, was treated and released from Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx early Wednesday, after a fierce gun battle that left the suspect, a career criminal freed ahead of a planned sentencing for a prior gun arrest, dead

Mayor Eric Adams has slammed New York City lawmakers for allowing a man who shot a New York City police officer late Tuesday back on the streets despite a pending firearms charge.

The comments from the mayor, who campaigned last year on cleaning up the city’s crime-ridden streets, came during a late-night address addressing the shooting at Lincoln Medical Center hospital, where 32-year-old officer Dennis Vargas was treated and released early Wednesday. 

‘Why wasn’t he in jail?’ a visibly emotional Adams asked attendees at the middle-of-the-night presser at the Bronx hospital, referring to the now deceased Rameek Smith, the 25-year-old homeless man who shot Vargas around 10:45 pm last night.

In an emotionally charged address, the mayor demanded to know how the suspect was not behind bars for the earlier gun crime – to which he pleaded guilty in December and was awaiting sentencing – despite his own District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s recent vow to jail fewer criminals. 

Smith – who fired two shots during the late-night shootout in Claremont after Vargas and his partner approached him suspecting he was armed – died in the shootout.

During the presser, Adams and other city officials revealed Smith had been on the streets ahead of a planned sentencing for a prior gun arrest in March 2020 at a Brooklyn subway station, where he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon – charges that were pending at the time of his death.  

Mayor Eric Adams slammed New York City lawmakers for allowing a man who shot a New York City police officer late Tuesday back on the streets despite a pending firearms charge, during a middle-of-the-night presser at the hospital where the officer was treated and released

Mayor Eric Adams slammed New York City lawmakers for allowing a man who shot a New York City police officer late Tuesday back on the streets despite a pending firearms charge, during a middle-of-the-night presser at the hospital where the officer was treated and released

Officials also added that Smith – who pleaded guilty to the weapons charge last December but was released while he awaited sentencing – was also convicted of robbery in 2016, for which he received five years’ probation.

Smith’s 2020 arrest – which transpired after officers saw him hopping a train turnstile – saw him violate his probation, Adams, 61, said Wednesday, remarking how ‘a perpetrator with multiple arrests’ was out on the streets while awaiting sentencing for the offense.

Prior to pleading guilty in December, nearly two years after the initial crime, Smith had been allowed on the street while his case went through the city’s legal system.

The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Rameek Smith, died after the Bronx shootout, which transpired around 10:45 pm Tuesday

The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Rameek Smith, died after the Bronx shootout, which transpired around 10:45 pm Tuesday

‘For 20 months after the arrest, he remained on the streets,’ the mayor said of Smith, who cops said was shot in the head during the shootout, which saw Vargas shot in the arm. ‘He finally pled guilty in December 2021.’

He continued: ‘This is what we’re dealing with – a perpetrator with multiple arrests. The last arrest: criminal possession of a weapon. 

‘How was he found to have been carrying the weapon? Jumped the turnstile at the subway station, and had the weapon on him,’ said Adams, who recently came under fire the arrest of a woman who was selling mangoes on at a Queens subway station. 

‘People want to ask why am I cracking down on fare evasions? That’s why.’        

Alvin – who has sought to eliminate pretrial detention except in ‘very serious cases’ – assumed office in January, a month after Smith was charged with the crime – however, his policies would see even fewer people behind bars before they are sentenced. 

The shootout unfolded late Tuesday night, cops said Wednesday, after Vargas and his partner spotted and approached the suspect during their beat in the Bronx neighborhood of Claremont at roughly 10:45 pm. 

Cops say Smith then began to run from the officers, spurring Vargas and his partner to give chase.

After about a block-and-a-half, police say Smith suddenly turned around and produced a handgun, letting off two shots at the officers – one of which struck Vargas. 

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has sought to eliminate pretrial detention except in 'very serious cases' - which would see even fewer people behind bars before they are sentenced. Adams criticized city laws that allowed the suspect on the streets despite the previous gun charge

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has sought to eliminate pretrial detention except in ‘very serious cases’ – which would see even fewer people behind bars before they are sentenced. Adams criticized city laws that allowed the suspect on the streets despite the previous gun charge

The officers then returned fire, hitting Smith in the head, police said Wednesday. Cops added that the suspect was initially stopped because it appeared he was carrying a weapon.

Smith was arrested and then taken to a hospital, where he later died, officers said.

A 9 mm Glock was recovered at the scene, police said.

Smith, pictured taken into custody late Tuesday night, was shot during the shootout and was taken to a local hospital where he later died

Smith, pictured taken into custody late Tuesday night, was shot during the shootout and was taken to a local hospital where he later died

Cops Tuesday apprehended Smith, who pleaded guilty to a prior gun charge in December but was out while he awaited sentencing

Cops Tuesday apprehended Smith, who pleaded guilty to a prior gun charge in December but was out while he awaited sentencing

Dozens of officers and city officials – including Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and new Mayor Adams – gathered outside Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx early Wednesday to greet the wounded officer upon his release just four hours after the fatal shootout.

Vargas, an eight-year veteran of the force, smiled and waved to fellow officers and journalists after being wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair.

Following Vargas’ release early Wednesday, a presser was held at the hospital to address the shooting, where officials revealed Smith’s extensive criminal past and pending criminal case.

During the address – which saw both Sewell and Adams speak – the NYPD Commissioner slammed the city’s criminal justice system, calling Smith a ‘dangerous criminal who should not have been on the streets of the Bronx or anywhere else.’

She added: ‘We are extremely fortunate.’

Adams, who donned a suit emblazoned with the message ‘Stop Gun Violence’ at last week’s Met Gala, echoed Sewell’s sentiment in his own address, in which he slammed a city that allowed ‘a perpetrator with multiple arrests’ to acquire and carry a weapon on the streets of his city.

Police investigate the crime scene on the Bronx street where the shootout occurred late Tuesday night

Police investigate the crime scene on the Bronx street where the shootout occurred late Tuesday night

‘Who the hell will protect the innocent New Yorkers in this city? That’s the question we have to ask ourselves,’ Adams said, asking how local lawmakers allowed the crime occurred.

‘We took 2,600 guns off our streets,’ the mayor attested.

‘And the shooters of those guns are back on our streets just like this person here. Under normal circumstances, you would see a decrease in crime in this city. But the same criminals are continuing to come out on our streets, committing violence over and over again. The city deserves better.’

He went on: ‘Our city is divided. The overwhelming number of New Yorkers are the good guys. A small number of violent people are the bad guys.’

Added that the officer who was shot, as well as that officer’s father-in-law, also a cop, are both on the Bronx Borough public safety team, which target illegal guns.

‘You have family members in the city that are saying we’re tied of living in violence, and they are up against those who believe we should be spending our attention protecting criminals. 

The 9mm Glock recovered by police from the scene (pictured here) had been reported stolen out of Virginia last June, cops said Wednesday

The 9mm Glock recovered by police from the scene (pictured here) had been reported stolen out of Virginia last June, cops said Wednesday

‘It is time for us to stop spending our energy protecting people who are committing crime and violence. This person has an extensive arrest history, he has made up his mind – he was not going to stop until he took the life of an innocent person.’

Chief of Detectives James Essig noted during the presser that the 9mm Glock recovered by police from the scene had been reported stolen out of Virginia last June.

Mayor Adams ran on a platform of increasing public safety and is under pressure to deliver after steep crime increases in 2021. 

Felony assaults in New York City are up 19.9 percent and robberies are up 44.5 percent. Overall crime is up by 41.26 percent.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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