U.S. Supreme Court Restores Federal "Ghost Gun" Restrictions
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to freeze a lower court order that bars the government from regulating so-called ghost guns – untraceable homemade weapons – as firearms under federal law.
Photo Insert: Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined with the court’s three liberals to allow the rule to take effect.
The brief order grants the Biden administration’s request to allow the regulations to remain in effect while legal challenges play out, Ariane de Vogue reported for CNN.
Ghost guns are kits that a user can buy online to assemble a fully functional firearm. They have no serial numbers, do not require background checks, and provide no transfer records for easy traceability.
Critics say they are attractive to people who are legally prohibited from buying firearms. The vote was 5-4.
Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined with the court’s three liberals to allow the rule to take effect. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh would have denied the application.
In 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives updated its regulations to define the kits as firearms under the law so that the government could more carefully track them.
The rule does not prohibit the sale or possession of any ghost gun kit, nor does it block an individual from purchasing such a kit. Instead, it requires compliance with federal laws that impose conditions on the commercial sale of firearms.
Those conditions include requirements that commercial manufacturers and sellers mark products with serial numbers and keep records to allow law enforcement to trace firearms used in crimes.