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New York AG Wins $7.8 Million from Ghost Gun Seller

Online retailer Indie Guns repeatedly defied court orders and spread extremist views on social media

Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office had secured a $7.8 million default judgment and permanent injunction against Indie Guns, a ghost gun seller that had repeatedly failed to comply with court orders. The move represents a significant win for the attorney general, who first filed a public-nuisance lawsuit against Indie Guns and nine other retailers in June 2022 for allegedly failing to establish reasonable controls when marketing and selling tens of thousands of untraceable “ghost gun” parts and kits into New York.

To learn more about ghost guns and their rapid proliferation among criminals, click here.

In March 2023, the other defendants in Attorney General James’ lawsuit were restrained and enjoined by court order from selling unfinished frames and receivers to recipients in New York, and last month, the court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss the lawsuit.

The only defendant not to file a motion to dismiss was Indie Guns, a company owned by Florida resident Lawrence Destefano, whose attorneys withdrew from the case in February 2023 due to his “failure to follow legal advice…vital to its effective, professional, and ethical representation.” After their withdrawal, Indie Guns repeatedly failed to obtain new counsel, and on March 4, 2024, the court defaulted Indie Guns from the case and entered a judgment of $7.8 million against the company.

defying court orders and regulations

Destefano repeatedly ignored court orders, bragged about destroying evidence, and threatened his co-defendants on social media. For example, despite clear instructions to preserve documents, Destefano promised on Instagram that his company would “erase all customer data beyond the scope of recovery.” In an Instagram video, he claimed that he had “destroyed” evidence and stated, “You will never, ever get me to turn over customer data, and you’ll never get my customer data.”

On February 16, 2024, Destefano posted a graphic video on Instagram of rats being shot to death. Then, the following day, he posted videos depicting two of his co-defendants, Arm or Ally and Rainier Arms, as rats for settling with the New York attorney general.

Destefano has also defied federal regulations, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “frame and receiver” rule, which went into effect in August 2022 and prohibits ghost gun kits from being sold without accompanying background checks, as well as state prohibitions. Over the past few years, 13 states have enacted laws regulating the sale and possession of ghost guns and gun-building kits. In a July 2023 Instagram video, Destefano claimed that he didn’t “know what’s legal or illegal right now,” but “I just want to make sure I can get you guys the products.” And just last month, Destefano told his followers, “If you want anything, just go ahead and text me. I’ve got full build kits or LSB kits that I’m shipping out” as well as “a couple of Ghost Gunners” — programmable desktop milling machines that can be used to finish ghost gun frames and receivers.

California has prohibited the manufacture and possession of unserialized firearms since 2022. But in August 2023, when Destefano posted a video showcasing a ghost gun build kit and a commenter asked if his company would sell such kits into “California again,” Destefano responded, “Again? 🤔 When did I ever stop? 🤷.” Days earlier, when a commenter said that they wished they “lived in a state where they still allowed us to build” ghost guns, Destefano said, “What in cockamamie hell are you talking about? Do you really need permission?”

When a commenter on an October 2023 post asked if Indie Guns would still ship Polymer80 build kits to California, Destefano said, “All I can tell you is that no government, no carry permit, no documents, and no vote creates your right to self defense.”

extremist and racist views

In a March 1, 2023, Instagram post advocating for ghost gun sellers to disobey warrants, subpoenas and court orders, Destefano called his “craft gun customers” his “brothers in arms and our last line of defense against tyranny.”

Months later, he posted a music video with a logo that read “Come and Take it” — a phrase co-opted by extremists implying that they will shoot law enforcement who attempt to enforce gun regulations — as well as two videos venerating 3D gun printer and anti-government extremist “JStark,” who created the FGC-9, or “Fuck Gun Control 9mm,” a 3D-printed firearm that uses no regulated parts in its design. The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation has since identified “JStark” as the late Jacob Duygu, who made numerous xenophobic, antisemitic, and racist comments.

Finally, last month, Destefano posted a propaganda video from noted racist Jared Taylor discussing crime rates by race in New York City. In the video, Taylor claimed that shootings were “very much a Black specialty.” In the caption, Destefano invited his non-white clients to defend themselves: “I want to hear from the Black and Hispanic clients I ship to. Please explain what’s going on. School me on this shit. I know most of you. You’re good law abiding citizens.”

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