On Monday, the Supreme Court mandated that two online gun part merchants adhere to a regulation from the Biden administration targeting untraceable firearms, commonly known as ghost guns, due to their absence of serial numbers.
Previously, in August, the court had stepped in with a close 5-4 decision to uphold the regulation after a subordinate court had annulled it. The latest directive, which came without public opposition from any justice, was in response to a Texas federal judge’s decision that excused Blackhawk Manufacturing Group and Defense Distributed from complying with the ghost gun kit rules.
The administration indicated in its submission to the Supreme Court that other gun part producers were also pursuing comparable judicial exemptions.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, the administration’s lead attorney in the Supreme Court, pointed out the necessity of the court’s intervention. Without it, she argued, these untraceable firearms would continue to be easily accessible to anyone possessing a computer and credit card, circumventing the need for a background check.
The new rule redefines what constitutes a firearm under federal legislation, now encompassing incomplete components such as a handgun’s frame or a long gun’s receiver. The goal is to enhance traceability by mandating that these parts are licensed and bear serial numbers. Furthermore, producers are required to conduct background investigations prior to any transaction, mirroring the process for other commercially available firearms.
This stipulation is comprehensive, encompassing firearms produced via any method, which means it also applies to ghost guns assembled from separate parts, kits, or created with 3D printers.
This rule remains active as the administration seeks to overturn the judge’s decision through an appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and possibly, thereafter, to the Supreme Court.