Supreme Court Again Reinstates Biden Admin’s ‘Ghost Guns’ Regulation

The Supreme Court reinstated the Biden administration rule that regulates so-called “ghost guns” that can be assembled in your home on an emergency basis.

The decision is not final. The case is still pending in lower courts. The case could return to the Supreme Court at a later date.

The term “ghost gun” has been used as a derogatory term by gun control activists to describe homemade firearms that do not have a serial number, and can therefore not be tracked by the law. Gun control groups have tried for years to regulate or ban homemade firearms at the federal level, but they have not been able to convince Congress to act.

Joe Biden, the president, has said that private-made guns, often made from gun kits, were “the weapons of choice” for many criminals.

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The “frame or receiver rule” of the government is valid until April 2022. The rule requires that individuals who assemble firearms at home add serial numbers. This rule mandates that consumers who purchase gun-assembly kit from dealers must also undergo background checks.

The government claims that even if pieces of guns are shipped, they are still firearms and are subject to the existing laws.

The order was issued late on the 16th of October in response to an emergency request filed by the Biden Administration in the case Garland v. Blackhawk Manufacturing Group Inc. No justices dissented. The court did not give any reasons for its ruling.

Justice Samuel Alito, who had previously stayed an order of U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas on Sept. 14, which blocked the rule. The stay was scheduled to expire on October 16 at 5 pm.

Judge O’Connor had previously entered an injunction on July 5 after determining that the regulation was illegal.

The judge ruled that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which is part of U.S. Department of Justice, went beyond its jurisdiction by regulating “partially-manufactured firearm components, firearm products, and related tools and materials.”

A judge ruled that the rule was “unlawful agency action” at that time.

The U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, denied the government’s application to stay an order of the lower court blocking the rule on July 24. “The ATF has failed to demonstrate a high likelihood of success in the merits or irreparable damage without a stay,” the court stated.

The Supreme Court addressed the issue on August 8th. A 5-4 split allowed the government to maintain its rule regarding ghost guns while the 5th Circuit appealed the injunction.

Four conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — dissented from the ruling.

The rule was approved by the three liberals on the court, Sonia Sotomayor (Chairman of the Court), Elena Kagan and Ketanji brown Jackson.

On Sept. 14, Judge O’Connor narrowed his injunction so that it only covered 80 Percent Arms and Defense Distributed. These two companies were involved in the lawsuit, as well as their customers.

The DOJ informed the 5th Circuit of the fact that the district judge had ignored the Supreme Court order.

The 5th Circuit issued its ruling on Oct. 2 indicating that it disagreed the DOJ’s claim but also determined that the injunction was “too broad.”

Injunctions which provide relief to non-parties can be problematic. It appears that the district court injunction is too broad in so far as it provides relief to non-party clients.”

The court still found that “the party-plaintiff manufacturer would suffer irreparable harm if they were forced to close their businesses or if they were arrested pending the judicial review.”

The court said that although it had vacated the injunction for gun kit purchasers, it did so because the Biden Administration assured it would not “enforce the Final Rule” against customers who purchased regulated “frames or receivers,” and were otherwise entitled to buy firearms.

The circuit court suggested that Judge O’Connor might revisit the issue and expand his injunction if the administration breaks its promise to not enforce the rule on customers.

The 5th Circuit said that “of course, if the circumstances change, then the district court can tailor the injunctive remedy to the new circumstances.”

The Government is right that, as it stands today, an injunction can’t be extended to non-party customers.

The circuit court also added that plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit against the rule “are likely to succeed on merits, because the Final Rule contravenes law.”

Chad Flores of Houston, Texas, an attorney for Defense Distributed (one of the gun manufacturers in the case) said that the Supreme Court’s latest ruling is incorrect.

He told The Epoch Times via email that “this error in interim technicalities will not last long.” The Fifth Circuit is about to strike down this rule for being unconstitutional.

Defense Distributed is prepared to endure until the rights and remedies are vindicated.

Michael James Sullivan, an Ashcroft Law Firm attorney in Boston, Massachusetts who represents Blackhawk Manufacturing, did not respond to a comment request at the time this article was published.

The Epoch Times contacted the DOJ to get a comment, but as of time of publication had not yet received a response.