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Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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Why the United States must regulate ghost guns

Wednesday

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“Ghost guns” – untraceable guns normally assembled with a build-it-yourself kit – have been increasingly blamed for homicides and violent gun crimes over the past few years. In 2022, the Biden administration imposed new regulations on ghost guns. The rules required ghost gun manufacturers to register, number and track each sale of a gun kit in compliance with standard U.S. firearms laws. On April 22, 2024, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a case against those regulations brought forward by gun manufacturers and their lobbyists.

Watch the video above to hear why Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence says the United States cannot afford any delays when it comes to regulating ghost guns.


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The following is an excerpt of the above video:

The United States is all aboard the struggle bus. A ban of TikTok is closer to coming to fruition than gun control. That is especially now that the U.S. Supreme Court is positioned to decide whether the Biden administration’s efforts to regulate ghost guns is lawful.

As you may recall, ghost guns are the guns that are made from kits that are sold online. By ordering one of these kits and following some IKEA-grade instructions, a person can easily assemble a functioning firearm that is utterly untraceable, yet unequivocally deadly.

Like any remotely responsible government in 2022, the Biden administration tried to make these guns traceable. Basically, the ATF juiced up the definition of “firearm” under the Gun Control Act of 1968 so that it would include ghost guns. This effectively meant that makers and sellers of ghost gun kits had to abide by the 1968 act and do what every other gun manufacturer and seller must do, that is, get a license, mark their products with serial numbers, and background check buyers. But that was far too heavy a lift. Ghost gun makers and sellers lost it, knowing good and well that part of their brand loyalty is based on selling untraceable products. And that’s why they call them ghost guns, after all. The last thing makers and sellers want to do is to make it possible for law enforcement to track the guns or their users.

So as a result, ghost gun businesses ran to the right-wing-heavy U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the ATF wasn’t authorized to include ghost gun kits within the definition of firearm, and a slew of right-wing appointed federal judges at the district court and federal appellate levels agreed with them, concluding that ghost gun kits are not firearms.

The United States is all aboard the struggle bus. A ban of TikTok is closer to coming to fruition than gun control. That is especially now that the U.S. Supreme Court is positioned to decide whether the Biden administration’s efforts to regulate ghost guns is lawful.

 

As you may recall, ghost guns are the guns that are made from kits that are sold online. By ordering one of these kits and following some IKEA-grade instructions, a person can easily assemble a functioning firearm that is utterly untraceable, yet unequivocally deadly.

 

Like any remotely responsible government in 2022, the Biden administration tried to make these guns traceable. Basically, the ATF juiced up the definition of “firearm” under the Gun Control Act of 1968 so that it would include ghost guns. This effectively meant that makers and sellers of ghost gun kits had to abide by the 1968 act and do what every other gun manufacturer and seller must do, that is, get a license, mark their products with serial numbers, and background check buyers. But that was far too heavy a lift. Ghost gun makers and sellers lost it, knowing good and well that part of their brand loyalty is based on selling untraceable products. And that’s why they call them ghost guns, after all. The last thing makers and sellers want to do is to make it possible for law enforcement to track the guns or their users.

 

So as a result, ghost gun businesses ran to the right-wing-heavy U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the ATF wasn’t authorized to include ghost gun kits within the definition of firearm, and a slew of right-wing-appointed federal judges at the district court and federal appellate levels agreed with them, concluding that ghost gun kits are not firearms.

 

And that’s really interesting because as the Biden administration’s counsel observed, IKEA couldn’t avoid a state tax on the sale of Home Goods simply because it sells furniture part kits, companies in the business of selling kits to assemble guns are selling guns. Get ghost gun manufacturers and sellers argue that grocery stores aren’t selling tacos simply because they sell taco kits. Yeah, that’s really cute. I don’t know whether I’m hungry at this point or just frustrated. But I do know that our society does not need more guns, especially those that are untraceable. There are over 350 million guns in the United States. We know that because these guns are traceable, goats guns don’t have that feature. yet. We don’t know how many are readily in circulation. But we do know that from 2016 to 2021, there were more than a 1,000% increase in the number of ghost guns that were collected and reported to the Department of Justice. That’s more than 37,000 ghost guns taken off of the streets. Yet we have no idea how many there still are out there. And we will not know. That is unless the US Supreme Court somehow concludes that the ATF can interpret part of a law instead of maybe waiting for Congress to specify a new definition. You know, I get it, it could be suspect the court could legislate from the bench after all or find a way to make it happen. And that would be for the greater good. And let’s hope they do because if we have to wait for Congress to do what’s necessary to change the definition and protect we the people from gun violence will all be ghosts before that ever happens.

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