With dozens and dozens of seized firearms arrayed before them, Mayor Eric Adams, police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and NYPD top brass highlighted a new threat to New York City: so-called “ghost guns.”
“It’s not a toy. It’s shipped as though someone is assembling a toy,” Adams said at police headquarters, gesturing at an assault rifle.
Sewell described ghost guns as “fully functioning weapons with no traceable markings or serial numbers. They’re sold in parts, usually online, and assembled at home.”
The officials called on the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to revoke the license of Polymer80, which distributes the kits they say comprise the vast majority of ghost guns seized by NYPD.
Polymer 80 representatives did not return requests for comment.
NYPD leaders say they’ve identified over 100 online retailers that sell ghost guns and parts as they try to stop the guns from reaching the streets,
The first ghost gun the NYPD seized was in 2018, police said.
“And in that year, the total number recovered was 17,” Sewell said.
Already in 2022, the department recovered 153 ghost guns, a 314% increase from the first four months of 2021, according to Sewell.
“The price of these guns — to put them together and to buy them online — has significantly gone down over the past two, three years since so many more online retailers have popped up,” said NYPD Deputy Inspector Courtney Nilan, a top official in the department’s Intelligence Bureau.
Taking on ghost guns is the latest initiative by the Adams administration to take on rising gun violence in the city.
Early on Wednesday morning, Adams was at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, where a police officer was being treated after being shot.
At the afternoon news conference on ghost guns, he railed against members of the news media and others he perceives as being overly critical of the NYPD.
“If you look at the tape of the shooting last night, that officer heard a shot at him. He did not stop running towards violence. When the last time we profiled these guys?” he asked.
The mayor said arrests are up, but “bad guys” are emboldened.
“There is no fear for people carrying guns. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he added.