Michigan teen who alleges his underage friend shot him with a ghost gun in 2021 sues an online supplier

A 19-year-old Michigan man who alleges in a lawsuit his then-best friend shot him in the face in 2021 with a ghost gun is suing the supplier he says illegally sold the underage friend the parts to assemble the weapon.

The lawsuit, filed by Guy Boyd on Monday in Michigan’s Washtenaw County Circuit Court, names Pennsylvania-based JSD Supply and Boyd’s then-best friend for 10 years, Kyle Thueme, as defendants, accusing them both of negligence. The online gun parts retailer, whose kits the lawsuit says can be used to assemble ghost guns, also is accused of engaging in unfair and deceptive trade and marketing practices in violation of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act.

The shooting happened in Michigan on May 31, 2021, when Boyd and Thueme were both 17 years old, the suit says. The lawsuit alleges JSD Supply had unlawfully sold two sets of ghost gun kits to a minor, Thueme, which he used to build “fully operational pistols in minutes,” without verifying his age or whether he could lawfully possess a firearm.

Ghost guns are self-assembled, generally untraceable firearms, often put together with parts sold online. They have no serial numbers, do not require background checks and feature no transfer records for easy tracking. Critics say they are attractive to people who are legally prohibited from buying firearms.

Boyd permanently lost his right eye as a result of the shooting and suffers from significant memory loss and debilitating anxiety as well as “ongoing chronic and debilitating seizures that have nearly killed him and will continue to impact almost every aspect of his daily life,” the suit says.

“He was not expected to live, but he’s here with us today and we are here to make a change,” Boyd’s mother, Denise Wieck, said during a news conference on Tuesday. “We’re taking our pain and turning it into purpose, and we really hope everyone realizes that something needs to be done.”

Guy Boyd, left, and his mother Denise Wieck, right, at a news conference Tuesday announcing the lawsuit. - WXYZ
Guy Boyd, left, and his mother Denise Wieck, right, at a news conference Tuesday announcing the lawsuit. - WXYZ

The lawsuit also accuses JSD Supply of using dangerous marketing methods and distribution, including falsely advertising the assembled gun could be owned without licensing or paperwork. “No paperwork. And without serialization, there is no way to track your purchase,” JSD Supply said on its website in marketing the ghost gun kits, the lawsuit says.

CNN has contacted JSD Supply and attorneys for Thueme for comment on the lawsuit but did not receive a response.

Company has been sued over conduct at gun shows

The Supreme Court in October allowed the Biden Administration to continue regulating ghost guns as firearms under federal law. In 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives updated its regulations to define the privately assembled weapons as firearms under the law so that the government could more carefully track them.

The rule does not prohibit the sale or possession of any ghost gun kit, nor does it block a person from purchasing such a kit. Instead, it requires compliance with federal laws that impose conditions on the commercial sale of firearms. Those conditions include requirements that commercial manufacturers and sellers mark products with serial numbers and keep records to allow law enforcement to trace firearms used in crimes.

The state of New Jersey as well as the cities of Philadelphia, Buffalo and Rochester have filed lawsuits against JSD Supply, accusing it of marketing, selling and supplying ghost gun kits at gun shows, which buyers then brought across state lines into their jurisdictions and were converted into guns that were later recovered from crimes.

“JSD Supply has sold or sells kits, frames, and other parts for making ghost guns, and does not conduct background checks or require buyers to demonstrate that they are not disqualified from purchasing or possessing a firearm,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a December news release.

What’s unique about Boyd’s case is that the lawsuit was brought by a direct victim of gun violence and concerns “troubling business practices” by JSD Supply in selling ghost gun kits online, according to Len Hong Kamdang, a lawyer at Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety and one of the groups representing Boyd.

Under Michigan law, people who are at least 18 can buy a handgun from a private seller. Under federal law, licensed firearm dealers are prohibited from selling a handgun to anyone under 21.

Bullet fragments remain in teen’s brain, suit says

The lawsuit alleges JSD Supply markets ghost gun kits on its website as “80% pistols,” and that this is misleading because it’s “meant to imply that purchasers need to complete the last 20% of assembly themselves to have a fully operable firearm.”

Meanwhile, the lawsuit says, the supplier stated on its website that two companion kits purchased together contained “everything needed to finish your own pistol like a professional” and encouraged customers to buy both kits.

“I don’t think there is any dispute that when they sell these two kits together, the intention is that they are designed to be made into a firearm,” said Kamdang.

The shooting took place in the early morning of May 31, 2021, when Boyd and Thueme were socializing with Boyd’s then-girlfriend and another friend inside a small RV parked in the driveway of the girlfriend’s family home in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the lawsuit said. The group had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before Thueme showed them a gun and started “messin(g) with” it, the lawsuit says, citing a police report.

Guy Boyd. - WXYZ
Guy Boyd. - WXYZ

Thueme, who Boyd’s lawyers allege had assembled the pistol from two kits sold to him by JSD Supply, then pointed the gun at Boyd’s face and pulled its trigger, thinking it was unloaded, the lawsuit says. Boyd’s last memory from that night is hearing Thueme saying to him after he was shot, “I love you, bro,” the suit reads.

Police and medical responders arrived at the scene and Boyd was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted to an intensive care unit, the lawsuit says. Doctors could not remove all the bullet fragments lodged in his brain “without a substantial risk of other potential adverse consequences,” the suit reads.

“To this day, fragments remain lodged in his brain,” the lawsuit says.

Boyd was a swimmer, a member of his high school football team and participated in Boy Scouts, his mother said during Tuesday’s news conference.

“Being shot cost me a lot. Because of my injuries, I had to quit things that brought me joy, like sports and Boy Scouts. I lost my eye. I’m an epileptic now and I haven’t been able to drive in two years because of my seizures. I have an extremely bad memory,” Boyd said at the news conference.

“But my struggles have helped me find my true inner strength and my hope is that my story and this case will raise awareness about the dangers of ghost guns,” he continued.

CNN’s Jennifer Henderson and Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.

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