Sun. May 19th, 2024

Supreme Court to decide if Biden administration can regulate ‘ghost guns’

By 37ci3 Apr22,2024

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court On Monday, Biden agreed to review whether his administration could legally regulate so-called ghost guns — firearms made from online kits that people can assemble at home.

The justices appealed to the Biden administration to defend the rules invalidated by the lower court. The provisions in question are currently in effect pending litigation.

Last August, the Supreme Court allowed the regulation to apply in a 5-4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining three liberal justices in the majority.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued regulations in 2022 to address what it claims is a sharp increase in the availability of ghost guns. Guns are difficult for law enforcement to trace, with the administration calling them a major threat to public safety.

The rule clarified that parts used to make ghost guns qualify as a “firearm” under the Federal Firearms Control Act, meaning the government has the power to regulate them in the same way it regulates firearms made and sold through the traditional process.

The regulations require manufacturers and sellers of kits to obtain licenses, mark products with serial numbers, conduct background checks and keep records.

Judge Reed O’Connor of the US state of Texas ruled last year in favor of Jennifer VanDerStock and Michael Andre, who had the components they wanted to use to create a weapon. Plaintiffs include gun rights groups and manufacturers and sellers of ghost guns.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled largely for the challengers after the Supreme Court allowed the rule to stand while the lawsuit moved forward.

“Because Congress neither authorized the expansion of firearms regulation nor the criminalization of previously lawful conduct, the proposed rule constitutes illegal agency action directly contrary to the will of the Legislature,” the ruling said.

If the ruling were allowed to go into effect, “anyone could buy a kit online and assemble a fully functional gun in minutes — no background check, records or serial number required,” Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar said in court filings.

“The result will be a flow of untraceable phantom guns into our nation’s communities, endangering the public and hampering law enforcement efforts to solve violent crimes,” he said.

Opponents agreed with the Biden administration that the Supreme Court should hear the case, citing its national importance.

Their attorneys wrote that it is not the ATF’s job to expand the definition of “firearm” under the Gun Control Act.

“If that definition has become outdated or unsatisfactory in any way, that is a matter for Congress to address,” they said.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has upheld gun rights in many cases, including a 2022 decision that recognized for the first time that the Constitution’s Second Amendment includes the right to bear arms outside the home.

The court is currently litigating scope of that decision in a case involving whether domestic violence defendants have the right to own firearms.

The ghost rifle case is a separate legal issue related to the ATF’s regulatory authority, not the right to bear arms.

Justices will rule in a similar case in the coming weeks challenging another ATF regulation that has been banned.”stocks,” an accessory that allows semi-automatic rifles to be fired rapidly.

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By 37ci3

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