First Gun Show in the Nation to Ban Sale of Ghost Guns
PHILADELPHIA – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced, alongside Rep. Amen Brown and Sens. Vincent Hughes and Tony Williams, that Eagle Arms Productions, the largest gun show promoter in Pennsylvania, has halted the sale of 80% receiver kits at its gun shows following two surveillance operations by the Office Of Attorney General (OAG) Gun Violence Task Force. This marks the first gun show promoter in the nation to stop the sale of these unserialized 80% receivers. This 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. We are calling on all gun show promoters to contact my office and follow suit to help keep our neighborhoods safe until criminals can’t buy these 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 announced just eight days ago.
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.
“It is my job to do what I can to fight for and protect my community. It is beyond heartbreaking to see how many lives are being lost to senseless gun violence – the impact on my community is grave,” said Representative A. Brown. “So, I pulled the needed parties to the table to figure out what can be done now that does not require legislation or policy change. And, this agreement is the outcome of bringing people together and working as a collective unit.”
From Jan. to April 2021, Eagle Arms Productions (Eagle Arms) had 15 scheduled gun shows and made up 32% of total gun shows for that time period. 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.
“This decision by Eagle Arms Productions is a positive step toward limiting access to ghost guns by criminals. We also need to remain focused and vigilant to stop the current legal loopholes that allow prohibited purchasers to acquire, assemble and possess these ghost guns,” said Shapiro.
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 this historic agreement. Notably, 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. Investigations are ongoing.
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