According to documents sent to TFB from an anonymous source, the ATF investigation into the Polymer80 and the Buy Build Shoot kits appears to focus on three main elements. First, the ATF states that the Buy Build Shoot kits are firearms, not just parts. Second, because these kits are considered firearms, Polymer80 did not follow the regulations guiding the transfer of handguns from an FFL to individuals. And third, a number of the Polymer80 Buy Build Shoot kits were shipped from Polymer80 to prohibited persons. The affidavit in support of the Polymer80 warrant application to search for and seize evidence related to the investigation is detailed, in part, below.
Polymer80 Warrant – Handguns, Customer Records, Prohibited Persons
The affidavit is over 50 pages long and details a year-long investigation into Polymer80 and the sale of the Buy Build Shoot kits to individuals in the United States. In the affidavit, the ATF states that while Polymer80 submitted a “receiver blank” for determination, the company did not provide a full Buy Build Shoot kit for analysis. It is unclear why a full kit of unregulated parts is required to be determined as a firearm or just a kit when the receiver or receiver blank could be the only regulated part.
Using information from Polymer80’s FFL inspections, items received for ATF determination and the ability of both ATF agents as well as confidential informants to “readily assemble” a firearm, the ATF determined that Polymer80 knew the Buy Build Shoot kits meet the federal definition of a firearm. With this determination by the ATF, they then maintain that the Polymer80 Buy Build Shoot kits needed to follow the regulations for Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) manufacturers and dealers when transferring handguns to non-licensees.
The ATF obtained sales records from Polymer80, Stamps.com and Authorize.net and identified over 50,000 overall transactions from Polymer80 to end users. Approximately 1500 Buy Build Shoot kits were sold to individuals directly from Polymer80, about 200 of which were to residents of California.
73. Because POLYMER80 shipped these Buy Build Shoot Kits from the SUBJECT PREMISES, located in the state of Nevada, to a customer in California, I believe there is probable cause to believe that POLYMER80 has committed violations of 18 U.S.C. SS 922 (a) (2) (Shipment or Transport of a Firearm by an FFL to a Non-FFL in Interstate or Foreign Commerce) and 922 (b) (3) (Sale or Delivery of a Firearm by an FFL to a Person Not Residing in the FFL’s State), as well as 922 (t) (Knowing Transfer of a Firearm without a Background Check) and other Subject Offenses, as described below.
76. Also, on or about June 17, 2020, in response to a subpoena, I received records from the company Authorize.net, a credit card processor. POLYMER80 is listed as the business name, with the SUBJECT PREMISES, 134 Lakes Blvd, Dayton, NV listed as the address, and the website listed was POLYMER80.COM. Under principal infornation, the records show BORGES’ name and the owner e-mail address is “[email protected] com.
77. The Authorize.net records, which include records from January 1, 2019 to June 16, 2020, include date and time a payment was submitted by a customer, the amount, the name and address of the customer, the telephone number of the customer, and the e-mail address of the customer. Some of the submitted payments appear to be duplicates, so while viewing the data, I ignored multiple payments from the same individual, of the same amount, occurring at around the same time.
78. On or about October 15, 2020, in response to a subpoena, I received records from Stamps. com for its subsidiary business Shipstation. Shipstation is a shipping software company that provides online businesses with order processing, production of shipping labels, and customer communication. The records received from ShipStation are similar to those received from Stamps.com, but also includes the order price of the shipped item, as well as the item name and Stock Keeping Unit (“SKU”) inventory identifier.
79. According to the ShipStation records, from January 2019 through on or about October 13, 2020, POLYMER80 shipped approximately 51,800 items throughout the United States. At least 50,600 of these shipments were sent to customers located
in states other than Nevada. POLYMER80 shipped approximately 9, 400 items to customers in California
80. In addition, according to the ShipStation records, from July 2019 through on or about October 10, 2020, POLYMER80 shipped at least 1, 490 Buy Build Shoot kits to customers throughout the United States, at least 1,468 of which were shipped to individuals in states other than Nevada. The most recent tracking numbers show the Buy Build Shoot Kits were shipped by POLYMER80 from the state of Nevada to customers in
most states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. According to the records, the four states that POLYMER80 did not ship Buy Build Shoot Kits to were Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey, and North Dakota. In addition, the records show that
POLYMER80 sent at least 202 Buy Build Shoot Kits to California, which was the most of any state.
81. In my review of the records, I have identified several instances where POLYMER80 firearm components appear to have been transferred outside of the United States. I also have identified instances where POLYMER80 shipped Buy, Build, Shoot kits to individuals within the United States who are prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms.
It appears that the ATF has reasonable suspicion to believe that at least some of the Polymer80 Buy Build Shoot kits were destined for export outside of the U.S. in violation of the United States Munitions List (USML) regulations.
Using the customer lists from Stamps.com and Authorize.net, the ATF used law enforcement databases to determine if any recipients of the kits were prohibited persons – individuals that cannot legally buy or own a firearm in the United States.
The individual states that POLYMER80 allows people to build firearms themselves. He further states that “you don’ t have to worry about the background check.” He also mentions individuals can have the items shipped to their homes. In the comments section of polymer80inc’ s post, user “xxxxx” wrote “I wouldn’t be touting ‘don’t have to worry about the background check’ as a bonus to the P80 system. ” User polymer80inc responded “@xxxxx background checks are NOT an infringement?” User xxxxx then said, “@polymer80inc I didn’ t say that. I said it sounds like you’ re trying to market them towards people who wouldn’t pass a background check.” Account polymer80inc did not respond to that statement.
While the investigation is obviously ongoing, it appears that the case rides on a keystone determination made by the ATF: the Buy Build Shoot kits are firearms, specifically handguns, because they include parts that can be readily assembled to make a functioning gun. Previous determinations of the Polymer80 blank receivers or 80% receivers have concluded that the polymer frames were not firearms and not a controlled item. It now appears that with the addition of the slide, barrel, trigger and manufacturing tools, the ATF maintains that these all-inclusive kits are now firearms, setting the stage for a complex legal battle.
TFB will keep you updated as the story progresses.