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The Supreme Court will officially hear the Biden administration’s appeal related to its “ghost gun” regulations. 

After previously intervening on an emergency basis, the justices issued a brief order to assess the merits of the case. This follows a 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that declared these regulations unlawful, aligning with firearm owners, gun rights groups, and manufacturers who opposed the measure. They argued that the administration’s expanded definition of what constitutes a firearm disrupts the balance set by Congress between commercial and non-commercial firearm production. 


The Justice Department, fearing the implications of the appellate ruling, pushed for Supreme Court review, warning of the potential influx of untraceable firearms that could evade basic safety checks like background verifications and serial registrations. US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in court filings, “Under the Fifth Circuit’s interpretation, anyone could buy a kit online and assemble a fully functional gun in minutes — no background check, records, or serial number required.” She claimed that this would lead to a surge of untraceable ghost guns, posing significant risks to public safety and complicating law enforcement efforts.

The core of the case, Garland v. VanDerStok, revolves not around Second Amendment rights but whether existing federal laws grant the authority to regulate these ghost guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has clarified that parts kits fall under the federal definition of a “firearm” and that the term “frame or receiver” should include parts easily assembled into a working gun. 


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