Attorney General orders nine western NY businesses to stop selling ghost guns

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that she’s ordering 28 businesses to stop illegally selling or advertising “ghost guns”.

We’ve been reporting on these homemade, untraceable guns or gun assembly kits for months, including about their use in crimes around Rochester.

An investigation from the Office of the Attorney General found that 28 businesses, including nine Western New York, sold firearm frames or assembly kits. Many of the businesses are advertised online or at gun shows. James warned of legal consequences, including imprisonment, if the businesses didn’t cease their gun part sales.

New York State law prohibits the possession of unfinished gun frames or receivers unless by a licensed gunsmith. In April, the Biden Administration announced regulations requiring gun assembly kit manufacturers to include serial numbers for the parts and for the buyers to go through background checks before purchasing.

“Across the nation, too many lives are being lost because of these untraceable and unregistered weapons that anyone can get their hands on without a background check," James said. "We are not going to wait for another tragedy, my office is taking action to crack down on gun sellers that are illegally advertising ghost guns."

Ghost guns have flooded the streets of Rochester, found a News10NBC investigation. In 2020 when the Rochester Police Department first started keeping statistics on ghost guns, it recovered 16 of them.

In 2021, that number jumped to 45. In January of 2022 alone, six have been taken off the streets.One of these belonged to a man wanted in a triple shooting who was arrested after a chase on Garson Avenue.

According to a study, in the last three years, there has been a 479% increase in ghost gun seizures across New York State. Andy Rodriguez, Assistant US Attorney for the Western District of NY, said he’s worked to prosecute ghost gun sellers and manufacturers in Rochester.

“People are buying these kits, getting them sent to their homes and just like the way someone might have a workshop at home where they build furniture or work on their cars, these people are manufacturing guns," Rodriguez said, “We’ve brought numerous prosecutions against people who have been caught manufacturing and selling these ghost guns to people in Rochester.”