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Biden Admin Asks SCOTUS to Block 'Ghost Gun' Ruling.

Biden Admin Asks SCOTUS to Block 'Ghost Gun' Ruling.

President Joe Biden's administration on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a regulation aimed at reining in so-called ghost guns, or privately made firearms that are difficult for law enforcement to trace, after it was struck down by a lower court.

The administration asked the justices to halt a Texas-based federal judge's nationwide ruling that invalidated a Justice Department restriction on the sale of ghost gun kits while the administration appeals to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Justice Department rule, issued in 2022 to target the rapid proliferation of the homemade weapons, bans "buy build shoot" kits without serial numbers that individuals can get online or at a store without a background check. The kits can be readily assembled into a working firearm in as little as 20 minutes.

 The rule clarified that ghost guns qualify as "firearms" under the federal Gun Control Act, requiring serial numbers and manufacturers be licensed. Sellers of the kits also must become licensed and run background checks prior to a sale. Several plaintiffs, including two gun owners and two gun rights advocacy groups, challenged the rule in federal court in Texas. 

U.S. Judge Reed O'Connor on July 5 issued a nationwide order blocking the rule, finding that the administration exceeded its authority in adopting it. On July 24, the 5th Circuit refused to block O'Connor's order pending appeal.

 The administration warned the justices that allowing the judge's ruling to stand would enable an "irreversible flow of large numbers of untraceable ghost guns into our nation's communities."

In 2021, there were about 20,000 suspected ghost guns reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) as having been recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations — a tenfold increase from 2016, according to White House statistics.


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