Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Over Government’s Ability to Regulate Ghost Guns
This past week the United States Supreme Court agreed to review a lower court’s ruling concerning the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm (commonly referred to as the A.T.F.) in the Biden Administration’s ability to regulate manufacturers and sellers of materials that can be made into “ghost guns.” “Ghost guns” are unserialized, privately made firearms often sold as parts to be assembled at home, allowing purchasers to circumvent certain federal firearm regulations. Ghost guns cannot be traced by conventional means and some can even be created on a 3-D printer, leaving virtually no record of their ownership. In 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives changed the definition of a “firearm” to under the Gun Control Act to include certain weapons parts kits and unfinished parts, which meant that under the new definition manufacturers and sellers of certain guns parts that can later be assembled into working firearms had to comply with the act. In order to comply, these sellers and manufacturers must be licensed and their products include serial numbers, as well as running background checks before the sale of these parts. While the rule does not prohibit people from buying a kit or any type of firearm, a United States District Court Judge in Texas found that the agency was overstepping their authority and that any changes to the definition must come through Congress, not a federal agency. However, the law has remained in effect as cases moved through the lower courts, but now the Supreme Court will review the case and decide whether or not the federal government can require these regulations on manufacturers and sellers of the products used to make these “ghost guns.”
Ghost Gun Bans Going Into Effect Across Multiple States
Illinois became the first state in the Midwest to ban the sale and possession of ghost guns in 2022 after the Chicago Police Department confiscated 455 ghost guns the year prior. Nationwide, law enforcement discovered approximately 10,000 ghost guns that year with the Department of Justice noting that since 2017, there has been a 1,000% increase in the number of ghost guns recovered by law enforcement each year. In response to this rise in ghost guns, many others states such as California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington have likewise enacted laws that ban the sale and manufacture of ghost guns while Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada, and Washington, D.C., have put ghost gun restrictions in place. There appears to be an everchanging legal landscape considering the legality of so-called “ghost guns” and the government’s ability to regulate the industry.  Anyone who is being investigated or has arrested and prosecuted for possessing or distribution of a “ghost gun,” should consult with an attorney to determine how to best defend their interests or seek recourse and potentially vacate an unconstitutional conviction or sentence.The post United States Supreme Court to Weigh Ghost Gun Regulation first appeared on Darryl A. Goldberg.