On Thursday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, ruled against the Biden administration’s regulation on “ghost guns” – privately made firearms that are hard to trace. The decision was made by a panel of three judges, all appointed by former President Donald Trump, supporting firearm owners, gun rights groups, and manufacturers. They deemed the 2022 rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) unlawful, aligning with a previous Texas judge’s ruling. This rule had modified the definition of a firearm, frame, and receiver under the 1968 Gun Control Act to include ghost guns, which can be assembled from kits without background checks.
U.S. Circuit Judge Kurt Engelhardt criticized the ATF’s rule for overstepping legal boundaries and attempting to legislate, a role reserved for Congress. The Department of Justice and ATF have not commented, but an appeal is likely, as the administration has previously sought the Supreme Court’s intervention, which allowed the regulations to remain active amidst ongoing litigation.
The administration argues ghost guns appeal to criminals and minors. However, Cody Wisniewski, representing the plaintiffs from the Firearms Policy Coalition Action Foundation, hailed the ruling as a significant setback to the Biden administration’s gun control efforts.
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