Supreme Court Reinstates Regulation Addressing Rise of Ghost Guns
In a significant decision, the Supreme Court has reinstated a regulation aimed at tackling the increasing threat of ghost guns – firearms without serial numbers. The regulation had previously been invalidated by a federal judge in Texas, but the court’s latest ruling ensures that the rule is back in effect while the Biden administration appeals the initial decision.
The court’s decision was reached by a narrow margin of 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett aligning with the liberal members on the bench. This victory for advocates of stricter gun control measures comes as the Justice Department recently revealed that law enforcement agencies confiscated more than 19,000 ghost guns at crime scenes in 2021, a marked uptick from previous years.
The revised rule, which was issued last year, expands the definition of a firearm under federal law to include unfinished parts that can be easily traced and must be licensed with serial numbers. This change aims to provide law enforcement with better tools for tracking and combating the proliferation of dangerous firearms without serial numbers. However, critics argue that the rule goes beyond the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and deviates from longstanding regulatory practice.
Those challenging the rule, including individuals, businesses, and advocacy groups, maintain that the federal judge in Texas made the correct decision and anticipate a favorable outcome at the Fifth Circuit. Conversely, supporters of the regulation, such as the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, lauded the Supreme Court’s action, expressing confidence that it will help save lives by curbing the availability of untraceable firearms.
Moving forward, the Biden administration remains committed to pursuing the appeal, with the possibility of taking the case to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and eventually to the Supreme Court. This ongoing legal battle reflects the divergent viewpoints surrounding gun control measures and highlights the critical role played by the nation’s highest court in shaping policy on this contentious issue.
With the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of the ghost gun regulation, there is renewed hope among proponents of stricter firearms controls. As the Biden administration continues its fight in the court system, the ultimate fate of this rule rests in the hands of the appellate courts and potentially, the Supreme Court itself. Until then, the enforcement of the regulation will serve as a reminder of the ongoing struggle to prevent the proliferation of ghost guns and ensure public safety.
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