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Supreme Court to review Biden’s ‘ghost gun’ regulations

By John Fritze, CNN

(CNN) — The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether the Biden administration overstepped a 1968 federal law by imposing new regulations on the makers of “ghost guns,” mail-order kits that allow people to build untraceable guns at home.

Ghost guns are kits that a user can purchase online to assemble a fully functional firearm at home. They carry no serial numbers, do not require background checks and provide no transfer records for traceability. Critics say they are attractive to people who are otherwise legally prohibited from buying firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives approved a regulation in 2022 that required the manufacturers to have serial numbers on the kits and keep records of who purchased them. Advocacy groups and five companies that manufacture the kits sued, arguing the regulation wasn’t permitted under law.

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.

A US district court in Texas threw out the rule and the conservative 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals mostly upheld that decision. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has weighed into the case twice on its emergency docket, pausing lower court rulings that barred the regulation from taking effect.

Last summer, a 5-4 court sided with the Biden administration in the first emergency request, allowing the regulations to remain in effect while legal challenges played out. At the time, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett sided with the liberal justices in the administration’s favor.

After the order was issued, the district court stepped in to block the regulations as applied to two manufacturers. The Supreme Court stepped in again last fall to allow the regulations to remain in effect.

The Biden administration said police departments have faced an “explosion of crimes involving ghost guns” in recent years. In 2017, police submitted about 1,600 ghost guns for tracing. Four years later, the number had grown to more than 19,000.

Both sides – the administration and the manufacturers – asked the Supreme Court to take the case.

The kit makers said their product is intended to cater to “law-abiding citizens making their own firearms” and accused the Biden administration of attempting to shut their companies down.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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