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Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 12/16/2020 in Firearm News

About That Raid on Polymer80

About That Raid on Polymer80

The BATF’s early December raid on Nevada-based Polymer80 is less than some guns rights activists are claiming and more than the gun control crowd says, at least on the surface. 

First, what really happened? Federal agents did raid Polymer80. They had a search warrant. Marine Gun Builder breaks down the warrant if you don't want to read the whole thing. 

Among other things, the company is accused of: 

  • Illegally making firearms 
  • Illegally selling firearms 
  • Not paying taxes 
  • Illegally shipping guns across state lines 
  • Not doing background checks on gun buyers 

Note only four of these are actually related to guns. Also, no one was arrested or charged as of this writing. 

Not paying taxes is not a firearm-related offense. Taxes are one way the government goes after people it can't charge and convict in other ways. The most famous example of this is the mobster Al Capone. Capone pled guilty to tax evasion and prohibition violations. 

How far did the raid go? Brownell's said an ATF agent came by and asked questions. AmmoLand's report of other raids was not borne out in other news reports as of this writing. 


As of this writing, the Polymer80 website was still up. How long it stays up remains to be seen. 

Polymer80's website says the company sells completed firearms. The PF-series listed 11 semi-auto pistols. The company also produced 80% complete polymer frames for handguns and AR platforms as well as jigs needed to guide the millwork to complete the frame and the parts needed to complete the gun as an entire kit. 


80% guns have no serial number, nor is it required under federal law. They are called ghost guns for that reason; there's no effective way to trace ownership. ATF recommends people who build a gun put a serial number on it and record that with the federal agency. 

The warrant says 10,000 ghost guns were seized in 2019. How many were used in crimes? The warrant does not say. The FBI says most guns used in crimes are illegally obtained. An FBI report on recovered guns shows the federal agency recovered 269,250 guns in 2019. The report does not say how many were used in crimes. 

80% KITS 

The warrant goes into detail about Polymer80's 80% kits. All that was needed to turn the parts into a gun was a drill, preferably a drill press to precision cuts. 

Tolliver Hart is the special agent (SA) who signed the warrant. Other special agents are referenced in the search warrant but not identified. One of these SAs "...determined that the 'Buy Build Shoot Kit" as designed, manufactured, and distributed by POLYMER80, is a 'firearm' as defined under federal law..." 

80% lowers are legal. Jigs are legal. Parts are legal. Was Polymer80 ever specifically told its kits were illegal? 

No, at least as far as we can find out. 

Not that it matters. As we saw recently with braces, the ATF is known to waffle back and forth on gun-related issues. The Honey Badger debacle is a prime example of a federal agency that doesn't know what it is doing. 

Give ATF's rulings on 80% frames, braces and so on, it is reasonable that Polymer80's leaders believed their product was entirely legal. 

One line of reasoning says it is still legal. Simple possession of parts need to make a gun is not illegal, right? 

Well, like so much of government and the ATF in specific, it is not that simple. 

Possession of a bump stock is illegal, right now anyway, whether or not you own a gun capable of supporting the bump stock. ATF has also seized parts, not even a gun under the legal definition of a firearm, needed to convert something to full auto. 

Under that kind of reasoning, possession of gasoline, a glass bottle or jar with a lid and T-shirt should also be illegal. Molotov cocktail anyone? 

In both cases, intent does play a large role in whether or not a person is charged. T-shirts, gasoline and glass bottles are commonplace and have thousands of uses beyond making a Molotov cocktail. Bump stocks and rock & roll gun parts are extremely limited in their use. 

Judging intent also means prosecutors and the government are predicting what you will and will not do. 


Elsewhere on YouTube, IraqVeteran8888 Eric said the BATF is feeling emboldened by a Democrat president's election. He and many others believe this is a sign of the times and change in the BATF attitude toward guns. The Wall Street Journal even says as much in its slanted story,. "…a sign that federal law enforcement is cracking down on kits that allow people to make weapons at home," wrote Zusha Elinson

ATF is going to follow the lead set by the administration, which is expected. The BATF chief will be an appointment by the incoming president and that person is expected to carry out the president's agenda. 

Joe Biden is clearly no friend of the gun-owning community. 

Eric advises people who have an 80 percent lower and a jig to call their lawyer. 

Even more disturbing is the warrant clearly stating one and ONLY one agent determined the Polymer80 kits are full firearms and subject to regulation. One person making a decision and changing law is not how our government is supposed to work

Given the list of accusations in the warrant, the raid is about more than selling 80% lowers and kits. Veteran crime, police beat reporter and FFL Dealer Network gun reviewer Ben Baker says law enforcement goes after as much as it can in hopes that something will stick well enough to hand the case over to prosecutors. Smart money says that is the case here. 

As of this instant, ATF agents asking about your 80% lower and kit seems unlikely. Will the BATF come after for 80% lowers already in someone's hands in the future? Biden won't say specifically, but the hints he drops are about as strong as he can get without saying so. 

If ATF agents come knocking, do not tell them anything and do not get in their way. Simply say you want to speak to a lawyer. 

Meanwhile, if you have an 80% lower and you can legally own the firearm it can become, get it milled out. Jigs and the much-maligned milling machine may soon be impossible to buy and illegal to own. What you do with your gun after it is complete is up to you.

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