Supreme Court To Hear Lawsuit On Biden’s ‘Ghost Guns’ Curbs

Biden Ghost Guns Curbs

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to determine the legality of a federal regulation aimed at controlling homemade “ghost guns” as President Joe Biden’s administration confronts the increasing use of these largely untraceable weapons in crimes across the nation.

The justices accepted the administration’s appeal of a lower court’s decision, which found that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had exceeded its authority in issuing the 2022 rule targeting parts and kits for ghost guns, which can be assembled at home in minutes.

The case will be heard during the Supreme Court’s next term, commencing in October.

The ATF rule aimed to tackle the rapid proliferation of privately made ghost guns purchased online without federal requirements such as serial numbers or background checks for buyers – characteristics that render them particularly appealing to criminals and individuals prohibited from legally purchasing firearms, including minors.

The regulation broadened the definition of a firearm under the 1968 federal Gun Control Act to encompass parts and kits that could readily be turned into a gun.

Serial numbers required

It mandated serial numbers and required manufacturers and sellers to be licensed. Sellers were also obliged to conduct background checks on purchasers before a sale.

Plaintiffs, including parts manufacturers, various gun owners, and two gun rights groups – the Firearms Policy Coalition and Second Amendment Foundation – filed a lawsuit to block the rule in federal court in Texas.

Brandon Combs, founder of the Firearms Policy Coalition, applauded the court’s decision to hear the case, criticizing the ATF’s “unconstitutional and abusive” rule.

Eric Tirschwell, executive director of the gun safety legal group Everytown Law, urged the justices to uphold the rule, asserting that ghost guns should be treated like the deadly firearms they are, as they have exacerbated the nation’s gun violence epidemic.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hard to trace

According to the administration, police departments nationwide have been grappling with “an explosion of crimes involving ghost guns,” now recovering tens of thousands of these weapons every year. However, ghost guns are nearly impossible to trace. Court documents revealed that between 2016 and 2021, the ATF successfully traced less than 1% of unserialized firearms recovered from crime scenes to unlicensed purchasers.