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Supreme Court to Take up Ghos 04/22 08:46


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to take up a Biden 
administration appeal over the regulation of difficult-to-trace ghost guns, 
which had been struck down by lower courts.

   The justices by a 5-4 vote had previously intervened to keep the regulation 
in effect during the legal fight. Ghost guns, which lack serial numbers, have 
been turning up at crime scenes with increasing regularity.

   The regulation, which took effect in 2022, changed the definition of a 
firearm under federal law to include unfinished parts, like the frame of a 
handgun or the receiver of a long gun, so they can be tracked more easily. 
Those parts must be licensed and include serial numbers. Manufacturers must 
also run background checks before a sale --- as they do with other commercially 
made firearms.

   The requirement applies regardless of how the firearm was made, meaning it 
includes ghost guns made from individual parts or kits or by 3D printers. The 
rule does not prohibit people from purchasing a kit or any type of firearm.

   The Justice Department had told the court that local law enforcement 
agencies seized more than 19,000 ghost guns at crime scenes in 2021, a more 
than tenfold increase in just five years.

   U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, in Fort Worth, Texas, struck down the 
rule last year, concluding that it exceeded the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, 
Firearms and Explosives' authority. O'Connor wrote that the definition of a 
firearm in federal law does not cover all the parts of a gun. Congress could 
change the law, he wrote.

   A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made up of three appointees 
of former President Donald Trump largely upheld O'Connor's ruling.

   The Supreme Court allowed the regulation to remain in effect while the 
lawsuit continues. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett 
joined with the court's three liberal members to form the majority. Justices 
Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas would have kept 
the regulation on hold during the appeals process.

   Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were appointed by Trump.

   Arguments won't take place before the fall.

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