Supreme Court to hear appeal on ghost guns regulation

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will hear the appeal, which is expected for the fall.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by the Biden administration regarding the regulation of ghost guns that had been struck down by lower courts.

Ghost guns, which lack serial numbers, have been increasingly found at crime scenes.


The big picture: Justices voted 5-4 to keep the regulation in effect while hearing the case. 

  • The regulation took effect in 2022 and expanded the definition of a firearm to include unfinished parts, making firearms easier to track by including serial numbers. 
  • Manufacturers are required to conduct background checks before selling these parts, regardless of how the firearm was made, including through kits or 3D printing.
  • The Justice Department reported that local law enforcement seized over 19,000 ghost guns at crime scenes in 2021, showing a significant increase in recent years.

Go deeper: A U.S. District Judge in Texas struck down the regulation, stating that it exceeded the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

  • The Supreme Court allowed the regulation to remain in effect during the ongoing legal battle, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining the three liberal members of the court to form the majority.
  • Arguments for the case are expected to be heard in the fall.
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