Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
File photo of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong speaking to reporters in 2022. Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Connecticut’s attorney general announced litigation Tuesday against four out-of-state companies for allegedly selling and shipping unfinished gun parts in violation of a 2019 law intended to prevent “ghost guns.” 

In a lawsuit filed in Hartford Superior Court, Attorney General William Tong’s office sued Florida-based companies Indie Guns and Steel Fox Firearms as well as Hell Fire Armory from North Carolina and AR Industries from Utah. 

Connecticut’s law on ghost guns prohibits the sale of certain firearm components that lack serial numbers and can be used to build untraceable weapons. According to a statement from Tong’s office, each of the four companies sold and shipped those parts called frames and lower receivers, to an undercover investigator in his office. 

“Directly from their websites, each of the Defendants sell almost-complete firearm parts, including AR-15 semi-automatic rifle parts, that consumers can easily assemble to create fully functional firearms at home,” the lawsuit reads. “These products are sold without serial numbers, rendering them untraceable. These parts, once assembled, are commonly referred to as ‘Ghost Guns,’ in a nod to their lack of traceability.”

Tong’s announcement comes a day after the legislature’s Judiciary Committee held a 12-hour hearing on a variety of new gun regulation policies. Among them was a proposal by Gov. Ned Lamont that would, among other things, expand the state’s efforts to prevent ghost guns. 

Police have begun to encounter the untraceable weapons while investigating crimes in Connecticut. According to the complaint, ghost guns accounted for 57 of the 353 firearms used in crimes in Hartford last year. 

Tong’s lawsuit asks the court to force the four retailers to stop selling the unfinished weapons to people in Connecticut, give up any profits they have already made from those sales, and pay civil penalties of at least $5,000 per violation. 

“Ghost guns are an untraceable menace that exist for one reason—to evade law enforcement and registration,” Tong said. “They are a threat to public safety and they are illegal in Connecticut. If you ship ghost guns into Connecticut, we will find you, stop you, and hold you accountable.”