Thursday, July 27, 2023

Biden Administration Appeals to US Supreme Court to Overturn 'Ghost Gun' Decision

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

On Thursday, the Biden administration made a formal request to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to reestablish a law targeting "ghost guns" or untraceable, homemade firearms, which was previously overturned by a subordinate court.

The administration implored the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of a Texas federal judge that nullified a Justice Department restriction on the distribution of ghost gun assembly kits, as they make their appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located in New Orleans.

The Justice Department introduced a rule in 2022 that targeted the increasing presence of these DIY weapons. It prohibited the sale of “buy build shoot" kits that lack serial numbers, which could be purchased online or in-person without any need for a background check. These kits enable the assembly of a fully functional firearm in a short time, around 20 minutes.

The new rule stated that these untraceable firearms fall under the definition of “firearms” in the federal Gun Control Act, meaning they require serial numbers and their makers must hold a license. The rule also implied that the distributors of these kits should be licensed and conduct background checks before making a sale.

The rule was contested in a Texas federal court by several plaintiffs, which included a pair of firearm owners and two groups advocating for gun rights.

Federal Judge Reed O'Connor issued an order on July 5 that blocked the implementation of the rule across the nation, asserting that the administration overstepped its legal boundaries when enacting it. The 5th Circuit chose not to overturn O'Connor's order while an appeal was in progress, as of July 24.

The administration cautioned the justices that if O’Connor’s verdict is allowed to prevail, it would result in the unchecked distribution of countless untraceable ghost guns into American communities.

According to data from the White House, approximately 20,000 potential ghost guns were reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) as confiscated in criminal investigations in 2021. This signifies a tenfold increase from the figures reported in 2016.

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