Supreme Court Issues Major Stopgap Ruling for Gun Control

( – “Ghost guns” are a controversial subject, even among supporters of the Second Amendment. The guns are homemade, often by kits or instructions sold online, that don’t have serial numbers allowing law enforcement to track them. President Joe Biden banned the weapons. The Supreme Court has now backed his rule — temporarily.

On August 8, the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision to temporarily grant an emergency petition from the Biden Administration asking them to lift a stay on its ghost gun rule. The petition came after Judge Reed O’Connor, for the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, struck down the 2022 ghost gun rule that required manufacturers and sellers to mark the guns with serial numbers, obtain licenses, and conduct background checks. He ruled the ban exceeded the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

According to O’Connor’s ruling, “a weapon parts kit is not a firearm,” and that which can be “converted to a functional receiver is not itself a receiver.” A three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit refused to stay portions of the judge’s ruling with which the administration took issue. Now the Department of Justice will appeal to the full court, but its regulations will be allowed to stay in place in the meantime.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett sided with liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Elena Kagan. Cody J. Wisniewski, the general counsel of the Firearms Policy Coalition Action Foundation, issued a statement saying the pro-Second Amendment group was “deeply disappointed” by the court’s decision. However, he said that he believed they would ultimately prevail in their fight to get rid of the regulation.

Now, the case will head back to the full Fifth Circuit. The court is notoriously conservative. After it makes a decision, one of the parties will likely appeal to the Supreme Court, and the justices will once again have to make a decision.

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