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Supreme Court Keeps 'Ghost Gun' Regulations In Force For Now

The Biden administration can enforce its "ghost gun" regulations, the Supreme Court said on Monday after an effort by firearm manufacturers to skirt a prior order, Courthouse News reports. No justice publicly dissented from the order or explained the reasoning. This is the second time the high court has taken emergency action on the issue. In August, the justices split 5-4 on upholding the administration’s effort to combat the weapons. Almost untraceable by law enforcement, ghost guns can be sold without a license and do not have serial numbers. Anyone with a credit card can buy the firearm, which comes in a part kit that can be easily assembled to create a fully functioning weapon. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives updated its definition of firearms in an attempt to crack down on their proliferation in the market. The new rule requires part kits to contain serial numbers and companies that sell them to obtain federal firearm licenses.


A private defense contractor and gun manufacturer returned to the trial court after the high court’s order to ask for an injunction against the ghost gun rules. Defense Distributed and Blackhawk were able to receive a pause on the government’s rules from the trial judge. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the pause. The Biden administration then appealed to the high court. The administration saw the lower court intervention in the case as a disregard for the justices’ authority. Manufacturers say the Biden administration is making up rules Congress did not enact. “Only what the legislators actually voted to enact counts,” said Charles Flores, an attorney for manufacturers. “Yet by administrative regulation, ATF’s ‘ghost gun’ rule tries to criminalize what Congress did not actually and could not constitutionally criminalize. That is why Defense Distributed will win the case and have the Rule set aside.”

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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