Supreme Court to Tackle Biden DOJ’s ‘Ghost Gun’ Rule

Hunter - President Joe Biden holds pieces of a 9mm pistol as he speaks in the Rose Garden
Carolyn Kaster/AP

WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court will take up whether the Biden-Garland Justice Department’s “Ghost Gun” Rule – the sensationalized term Joe Biden’s allies have coined referring to firearm components without serial numbers – violates the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a regulation in 2022 claiming that certain components that could be assembled to create an operational firearm trigger federal law’s requirement for a serial number. This crosses a line that previous administrations that oppose Second Amendment rights have been unwilling to cross, teeing up a legal challenge in the nation’s highest court during the 2024 election.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) is the most sweeping federal gun control law on the books, passed when liberal Democrats had massive majorities in both houses of Congress and President Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. GCA was passed in the years before the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

GCA created the serial number system for firearms, requiring every firearm made in the United States to have a unique serial number through which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can track the firearm from the manufacturer to the retailer who sells it.

The retailer then keeps a record of who purchased the firearm with that serial number, so that if the firearm is later recovered as part of a criminal investigation, the police can contact the gun store to find out who purchased the firearm.

That provision of GCA has always been interpreted as referring to finished firearms. However, in 2022 Garland promulgated a rule extending that requirement to firearm components. This would significantly increase the regulatory reach of the Biden administration over the firearms industry and increase the cost of making and selling firearms, rendering them less affordable and accessible to American citizens, and forcing many firearm makers and sellers out of business.

The Biden-Garland regulation was challenged under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Judge Reed O’Connor in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas agreed that Garland’s regulation exceeds any lawful authority the federal government has under GCA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed in relevant part.

Garland asked the Supreme Court to review the matter. On Monday, the justices agreed to do so, with arguments likely to be held close to Election Day.

The case is Garland v. VanDerStok, No. 23-852 in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Breitbart News senior legal contributor Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @kenklukowski.


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