US Supreme Court Keeps ‘Ghost Gun’ Regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced it will temporarily allow the Biden administration’s so-called “ghost gun” regulations to continue.

The decision comes in response to the federal government’s claim that lower courts had overridden a prior Supreme Court decision revolving around so-called “ghost guns.”

In August 2023, the Supreme Court froze a lower court’s order barring the federal government from regulating “ghost guns.” Five U.S. Supreme Court justices, including John Roberts and Amy Coney Barrett, sided with the court’s three liberals to freeze the lower court’s ruling.

In June 2023, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently held that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had exceeded its authority in establishing a rule allowing governments to regulate “ghost guns” by tracking them.

Given this, O’Connor blocked the ATF’s rule nationwide. O’Connor was joined by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar then issued an emergency filing to the U.S. Supreme Court, warning the justices that over the last couple of years “police departments around the Nation have confronted an explosion of crimes involving ghost guns.”

Prelogar added that the district court’s ruling had “countermanded this Court’s authoritative determination about the status quo that should prevail during appellate proceedings in this case.”

The solicitor general continued by saying that “lower courts have no power to revisit the matter (at least absent a significant change in circumstances). Yet the district court and the 5th Circuit openly flouted that principle here.”

After the district court’s ruling, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to allow its “ghost gun” regulations to continue.

On Oct. 6, 2023, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito granted the Biden administration’s wish, saying the regulations would remain in effect until Oct. 16, 2023.

“Immediately after this court issued its stay, those courts considered the same arguments based on the same record and effectively countermanded this court’s order based on their own view of the merits and the equities.… The lower courts’ approach would subvert this court’s authority and needlessly multiply emergency litigation,” Alito’s order reads.

A “ghost gun” is a made-up term describing firearms that are typically created in homes or privately assembled and, as a result, do not contain serial numbers or any other forms of identification, as reported by The New American. These firearms are usually built from scratch, with many individuals purchasing parts online.