Supreme Court to Hear Biden Administration Appeal on Ghost Gun Regulation

The Supreme Court will hear the Biden administration's appeal to reinstate a regulation on ghost guns, a crucial decision that could impact the government's ability to address the growing threat of untraceable firearms.

Trim Correspondents
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Supreme Court to Hear Biden Administration Appeal on Ghost Gun Regulation

Supreme Court to Hear Biden Administration Appeal on Ghost Gun Regulation

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal filed by the Biden administration seeking to reinstate a 2022 regulation on ghost guns, which had been struck down by lower courts in Texas. The regulation aimed to classify the parts used to make ghost guns as "firearms" under the federal Gun Control Act, requiring manufacturers and sellers to obtain licenses, mark the products with serial numbers, conduct background checks, and maintain records.

Ghost guns are unserialized firearms that can be assembled from kits sold online. The Justice Department said local law enforcement seized over 19,000 ghost guns at crime scenes in 2021. The Biden administration argued that the regulation was necessary to address the increasing prevalence of these untraceable weapons.

The regulation was challenged in court by gun owners, advocacy groups, and companies that manufacture ghost gun kits. They argued that the regulation exceeded the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' authority and that the definition of "firearm" has long been interpreted to describe actual or finished frames and receivers, not unfinished parts.

A federal district judge in Texas sided with the challengers and struck down the regulation, ruling that it constituted unlawful agency action. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals largely upheld this decision, stating that the administration was trying to rewrite gun control laws, which only Congress can do.

Why this matters: The Supreme Court's decision in this case could have significant implications for the Biden administration's efforts to regulate ghost guns and address the growing threat they pose to public safety. The outcome could also set a precedent for the scope of executive authority in regulating firearms.

The Supreme Court had previously intervened in the case, voting 5-4 to allow the administration to continue enforcing the rule during the ongoing legal fight. The justices will now consider whether the Biden administration can lawfully regulate ghost guns. Arguments are expected to take place in the fall, with a decision likely by the end of the court's next term in June 2025.

Key Takeaways

  • Supreme Court to hear Biden admin's appeal to regulate ghost guns
  • Lower courts struck down 2022 regulation classifying ghost gun parts as firearms
  • Regulation aimed to require licenses, serial numbers, background checks for ghost guns
  • Challengers argued regulation exceeded ATF's authority, definition of "firearm"
  • Court's decision could impact Biden's efforts to address growing ghost gun threat