Supreme Court set to rule on Biden Administration’s ghost gun regulations

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on whether the regulations placed on ghost guns by the Biden Administration are lawful. Ghost guns are privately assembled through “buy build shoot” kits or are 3D-printed. They also lack a serial number, making them untraceable, and do not require buyers to have background checks conducted. This means that it is very difficult to trace a crime committed using a ghost gun back to the perpetrator. The White House has called ghost guns a “major threat to public safety.”

In 2022, the Supreme Court upheld President Biden’s gun control regulations by a 5-4 vote after they were challenged by the lower courts. These regulations legally redefine firearms to include unfinished parts of guns, such as frames and receivers — requiring that the seller run background checks on all buyers, even for ghost guns. This effectively closed the background check loopholes, but now the regulations are being threatened by a lower court decision, which stated that the regulations were unlawful. In 2022, the Department of Justice seized 25,785 ghost guns in the United States. In 2023, the city of Philadelphia sued two manufacturers of ghost guns after it was discovered that the perpetrator of a mass shooting had committed the crime using two ghost guns.

If the decision of the lower courts were to remain in effect, anyone would be able to purchase a firearm regardless of age or previous criminal history. Gun violence and intimate partner violence are linked, as “abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their female victims.” Women of color are disproportionately impacted by intimate partner violence. By increasing background checks and treating ghost guns the same as any firearm, it will be easier to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have access to them. We need federal policies that will reduce violence involving firearms and these regulations will help to protect communities across the United States.

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