Connecticut accuses four companies of selling illegal 'ghost gun' parts

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) - Connecticut on Tuesday sued four gun companies it accused of violating state law by advertising and selling components that can be used to build so-called "ghost guns" without serial numbers that are difficult to trace.

The lawsuit, filed in the Judicial District of Hartford, targets Florida-based Indie Guns LLC, Florida-based Steel Fox Firearms Inc, North Carolina-based Hell Fire Armory and Utah-based AR Industries LLC.

"Ghost guns are an untraceable menace that exist for one reason - to evade law enforcement and registration," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement. "If you ship ghost guns into Connecticut, we will find you, stop you, and hold you accountable."

A representative of Hell Fire said the company had not yet been served with the lawsuit and otherwise declined to comment. The other three companies could not immediately be reached.

In 2019, Connecticut banned the sale of gun frames and lower receivers, which can be used to build a completed gun, directly to consumers without serial numbers. Federal law requires all guns manufactured for commercial sale to have serial numbers, but does not directly address the sale of parts to consumers for personal use.

Connecticut is one of 11 states that have passed laws aimed at cracking down on ghost guns, according to the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.

The state said in its lawsuit that AR Industries and Steel Fox said on their websites that they would not ship their lower receivers to Connecticut, but did so anyway, while Indie Guns and Hell Fire had no notice about the Connecticut law.

It is accusing the companies of violating Connecticut consumer protection law and seeking a court order blocking sales of the ghost gun parts in Connecticut.

New York City and state last June filed similar lawsuits against 10 companies, including Indie Guns, and the federal government in October filed a statement in court supporting the city's case. Some of the defendants have settled with the city, agreeing to stop sales there, but the lawsuits otherwise remain pending.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Aurora Ellis)