Updated Apr 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court agrees to hear Biden admin appeal in ghost guns case

Two officers stand in front of the Supreme Court, a building with columns in the front. The sky is blue in the background. Some metal gates are in the foreground.

U.S. Supreme Court police officers stand on the steps of the nation's high court on April 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a case stemming from a disputed regulation of so-called "ghost guns."

The big picture: The Biden administration appealed a lower court ruling that invalidated its attempt to regulate the firearms, which are typically self-assembled and do not have serial numbers, making them difficult to trace.

  • The Supreme Court temporarily stayed the lower court ruling last summer.
  • The court will take up the case, Garland v. VanDerStok, in its next term, per ABC News.

Catch up quick: The Biden administration's 2022 regulation changed the definition of a firearm to include unfinished gun parts, like frames and receivers.

  • Firearm parts, under the rule, would be required to have serial numbers.
  • Dealers selling these parts would have to perform background checks on potential buyers.

State of play: Ghost guns can become fully functioning, untraceable firearms in less than one hour, per Everytown for Gun Safety.

  • The Biden administration regulation applies to ghost guns made from individual parts, by kits or by 3D printers.
  • In 2022, the Justice Department recovered more than 25,700 ghost guns in domestic seizures and more than 2,400 through international operations.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details throughout.

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