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California Joins Lawsuit Against 'Ghost Gun' Kit Makers

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The state is joining a historic lawsuit against the makers of "ghost gun" assembly kits that can be used to make an untraceable firearm at home.

The lawsuit has been filed against Blackhawk Manufacturing Corp., MDX Corporation, and GS Performance, LLC, over their sales of gun kits that buyers can use to self-assemble firearms without serial numbers and cannot be traced – otherwise known as "ghost guns."

"When firearms are built at home by individuals who have not passed a background check and have not had their guns properly serialized, it leaves law enforcement in the dark, and the public less safe," Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. "

In this photo illustration, a man looks at a website which sells gun kits or "ghost guns," August 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - California is declaring war on "ghost guns" -- weapons kits sold on the internet without any system of control -- with Los Angeles on Tuesday becoming the latest city to move to outlaw them. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Such firearms have been used in a number of high-profile shootings in Southern California, including the ambush of two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies last September and in the 2019 Saugus High School shooting that killed two students.

Ghost guns kits commonly contained unfinished frames and receivers and can be assembled into a fully functional weapon in as little as 15 minutes, according to the Attorney General's Office. They are not serialized and allows unlicensed manufacturers and people barred from owning guns to bypass California requirements like registration and background checks.

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, even when it comes to ghost guns – the Assembly of Firearms Law requires consumers who purchase a kit to apply for a serial number from the California Department of Justice and complete a background check. The California Unsafe Handgun Act also requires handguns sold in the state to pass a firing test and a drop safety test.

The lawsuit alleges Blackhawk, MDX and GS Performance mislead buyers by not disclosing the legal obligations they face by making such a purchase. Blackhawk and Glockstore are also in violation of the California Manufacturer Firearms Law by failing to comply with California's requirement that certain manufacturers engrave all frame and receiver blanks with a unique serial number, according to the lawsuit.

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