Attorney General James Secures $7.8 Million from Ghost Gun Retailer for Illegally Shipping Ghost Guns to New York

Indie Guns Also Permanently Banned from Shipping Ghost Gun Components into New York

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James secured a $7.8 million judgment and permanent injunction against gun retailer Indie Guns, LLC (Indie Guns) for illegally selling ghost gun components in New York. The Florida-based company specializing in selling the parts used to make ghost guns will also be permanently banned from selling unfinished frames and receivers in New York. The judgment is the result of a major lawsuit that Attorney General James filed against Indie Guns and nine other ghost gun retailers in June 2022 for selling tens of thousands of illegal, unfinished frames and receivers to New Yorkers that were assembled into untraceable handguns and assault-style weapons. The judgment resolves the Office of the Attorney General's (OAG) lawsuit against Indie Guns while the lawsuit against the remaining nine defendants is ongoing.

“Ghost guns are one of the greatest threats facing our communities, and the companies that ignore our laws and put our families in danger must be held accountable,” said Attorney General James. “These deadly weapons are designed to be untraceable and can easily end up in the hands of people otherwise barred from owning guns. Indie Guns refused to follow New York and federal law and tried to flood our streets with ghost guns — but now they are paying the price for those bad actions. We will continue to do everything in our power to stop the flow of illegal and dangerous ghost guns into our state and protect our communities from gun violence.”

Indie Guns specializes in selling and shipping the components used to make ghost guns, and explicitly markets itself as a supplier that will allow its customers to evade federal and state gun laws. The company knowingly sells its products directly to consumers without following federal laws requiring background checks, recordkeeping, and serial numbers, and boasts on its website that self-assembling guns allows customers to “put personal firearms beyond the reach of government.” Its “LSB Kit” (short for “lock, stock, and barrel”) is marketed as “everything needed to build a complete pistol in a discounted bundle package.” Indie Guns also sells kits to assemble ghost AR-style assault weapons and promotes its products as being “UNSERIALIZED UNREGISTERED UNTRACEABLE.”

Indie Guns sold tens of thousands of its products to New Yorkers, including those who were seeking to evade state and federal gun laws. As its owner Lawrence Destefano said, the company’s goal was to sell as many “unserialized, untraceable, unregistered gun components” as possible to “flood this damn market.”

Between May and June of 2022, OAG caught Indie Guns and five of the other defendants — Arm or Ally, LLC, Brownells, Inc., Salvo Technologies, Inc. (a/k/a 80 P Builder or 80P Freedom Co.), Rainier Arms, LLC, and Rock Slide USA, LLC — shipping unfinished frames or receivers to undercover investigators in New York. Several defendants advertised ghost gun components for sale and shipped their products to individuals who went on to commit crimes involving ghost guns in New York.

Under New York law, the sale of an unfinished frame or receiver, the core component of a firearm, is a felony. Unfinished frames and receivers do not have serial numbers, and they allow buyers to make ghost guns at home using basic tools. Purchasers of unfinished receivers only have to make a few small changes in order to use them in a fully-assembled, illegal assault weapon. Similarly, a purchaser of an unfinished frame can use commonly available tools to finish the frame, which can then be used in an untraceable handgun.

Indie Guns (1)

An unfinished firearm frame sold by Indie Guns (left) is nearly indistinguishable from the same frame (right) sold by a different retailer as finished, complete with serialization and the required background check

Indie Guns (2)

An unfinished Glock-compatible handgun frame sold and shipped by Indie Guns

In June 2022, Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against 10 national gun manufacturers, including Indie Guns, for selling tens of thousands of unfinished frames and receivers to New Yorkers. In March 2023 Attorney General James sought and secured an order prohibiting the defendants from selling unfinished frames and receivers into New York state. The 10 gun distributors targeted by OAG and banned from shipping ghost gun kits into New York are: Brownells, Inc., Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, Salvo Technologies, Inc., G.S. Performance, LLC, Indie Guns, LLC, Primary Arms, LLC, Arm or Ally, LLC, Rainier Arms, LLC, KM Tactical LLC, and Rock Slide USA, LLC. By one of the retailers’ own admission, the products “make it ridiculously easy for a non-machinist to finish their [handgun frame] in under 1 hour with no drill press required.” This process is designed to work around federal gun serialization, recordkeeping, and background check requirements. 

In February 2024, Judge Furman of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion by the defendants to dismiss this lawsuit with respect to all claims but one, meaning the case could move forward. While the $7,846,400 judgment resolves the case against Indie Guns, OAG will continue to hold the other national gun retailers ignoring New York state laws accountable.  

This litigation is led by Special Counsel James Thompson, Special Counsel Monica Hanna, Special Counsel Molly Thomas-Jensen, Assistant Attorneys General Abigail Katowitz and Matthew Conrad, with support from Data Scientist Kenneth Morales, former Director of Research and Analytics Jonathan Werberg, and Legal Support Analyst Labiba Hasan, all under the supervision of First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy. The investigation was conducted by investigators Chad Shelmidine, Peter Schottenfeld, and Paul Matthews, all under the supervision of former-Deputy Chief Investigator Jonathan Wood and former-Deputy Chief Investigator Edward Carrasco.