US Supreme Court Restores Biden ‘ghost gun’ Rules – For Now

Restrictions on untraceable “ghost guns” in the US will remain in place, while the White House appeals against a court ruling which prevented them being classified as a firearm.

In July, a Texas court blocked a 2022 rule requiring self-assembled “ghost gun” kits to have serial numbers.

Pro-gun rights groups had sued to stop legally classifying them as a firearm.

But on Tuesday the US Supreme Court allowed restrictions to remain in place while a legal challenge is ongoing.

The decision comes as the President Joe Biden’s administration faces pressure to take more action on gun violence.

Tuesday’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling means that the regulation will stand while the White House appeals the Texas decision. That appeal could eventually end up back in front of the Supreme Court.

Ghost guns can be self-assembled and sometimes 3D printed, which meant they may not have a serial number and can be difficult to trace. Background checks had not previously been required to purchase the assembly kits.

The Biden administration’s new rules, aimed at reining in the proliferation of “ghost guns”, came into effect last August. The rules included requiring manufacturers of “buy build shoot” kits to be licenced and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and for businesses selling these kits to also be federally licenced.

But the judge in Texas, US District Judge Reed O’Connor, ruled that the Biden administration overstepped its authority outlined the 1968 Gun Control Act when it classified “buy build shoot” kits as firearms.

The White House says swift action needs to be taken against unregistered weapons, and that there were 20,000 suspected ghost guns found during criminal investigations in 2021, a ten-fold increase from five years earlier.

Americans own more firearms per capita than any other country in the world, with more guns in civilian hands than there are US citizens.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 48,800 Americans died from gun injuries in 2021, the most recent year for which full numbers are available.

In recent years, Supreme Court rulings have generally expanded individual gun rights. Last year, the country’s highest court ruled that the US Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun in public for self-defence.

In its next session, which starts in October, the court will hear a case about whether people who are subject to domestic violence restraining orders can be allowed to keep their firearms.

Deep divisions in Congress over the issue of gun control have prompted Mr Biden and Democrats to use means other than passing federal laws to try to strengthen gun restrictions.

These include executive branch actions like the ghost gun rules, and laws passed at the state and local levels, usually in areas where Democratic Party lawmakers hold majorities.




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