top of page

Gun Industry Drama: Ghost Guns and NRA Corruption

The Gun Industry has been a headline focus in recent news. The NRA faced a corruption lawsuit in New York regarding the misappropriation of funding dollars by executives within the NRA. Additionally, there have been developments in lawsuits filed by major metropolitan areas such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York against “ghost gun” manufacturers. ‘Ghost Guns’ are guns created by manufacturers via building kits that provide essential parts for assembly. The most controversial part about these kits is that the provided parts don’t have serial numbers, so they’re untraceable and do not require a permit or registration to purchase. 

The corruption suit against the NRA was filed by NY Attorney General Letitia James back in August 2020. The suit accused four named defendants, the NRA’s past advertising agency (Ackerman McQueen), and the NRA’s internal audit committee of corruption by misusing the non-profit’s funds for personal benefit. 

The NRA suit accused former CEO Wayne LaPierre (among others) of spending millions of funding dollars on vacations, luxury transport, and expense reimbursements. LaPierre also awarded himself an unauthorized post-employment contract totaling $17 million upon his leave from the NRA. 

LaPierre stepped down from his position due to the corruption suit, ending his long-standing role at the NRA, which started in 1991. The court came to a verdict on February 23 and found LaPierre and the former CFO, Wilson Phillips, liable for financial misconduct and corruption. LaPierre has been told to pay back a total of $5.4 million to the NRA and has reportedly already paid back a little over $1 million, leaving $4.35 million outstanding. Phillips is required to pay back $2 million for his part in the mismanagement of non-profit funds. Separately, Josh Powell, the former Executive of General Operations, settled out of court before the proceedings and paid just $100 thousand.

The recent crackdown on “ghost guns” is an initiative the Biden administration has been prioritizing due to the spike in police recovering these types of guns at crime scenes. In 2017, the number of ghost guns submitted to the ATF for tracing was 1,629. In 2021, that number increased by 11.8x to 19,273. Currently, the administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a prior decision that interfered with the overall federal ban on selling “ghost guns.” 

Attorney General James in NY has continued to pursue the case filed in 2022 against nine ghost gun manufacturers, which have attempted to appeal the case to no avail. Philadelphia and Baltimore have filed similar suits against ghost gun manufacturers. Specifically, manufacturers Polymer80 and JSD Supply were the biggest suppliers of these kits. In Baltimore, their case has led to Polymer80 halting sales in Maryland and paying a settlement of $1.2 million


bottom of page