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Supreme Court Reinstates Regulation of Ghost Guns

Supreme Court Reinstates Regulation of Ghost Guns

By RZR News Team
Aug 28, 2023

Fast Facts

Analysis

The push to regulate ghost guns may seem like a logical step to curb gun-related crime, but a closer examination reveals its potential to be an ill-conceived solution. While the intention to enhance public safety is commendable, such a decision risks not only failing to prevent true crime effectively but also undermining the fundamental rights enshrined in the Second Amendment.

Ghost guns, often assembled from parts without serial numbers, present challenges for law enforcement. However, regulations targeting these firearms often neglect to address the underlying issue of criminal intent. Those determined to use firearms for unlawful activities will continue to do so, regardless of regulations.

Furthermore, the overstepping approach of the Court risks infringing on law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms. Such measures can set a dangerous precedent that erodes Second Amendment freedoms, casting a shadow over the rights of responsible gun owners.

A more effective approach would focus on addressing the root causes of gun-related crime, such as mental health support and comprehensive law enforcement efforts. Rather than pursuing regulations that may lead to unintended consequences, a holistic strategy would provide a more meaningful impact on public safety – the Court appears to miss this notion.

Effective solutions should prioritize addressing the underlying causes of gun-related crime while safeguarding the rights of law-abiding citizens.

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Gun control is a fairly hot-button issue, especially in the era of mass shootings and controversy over the exact meaning of the Second Amendment. However, it is usually understood that (in theory) the government keeps track of who owns how many guns through serial numbers, or even gun markings.

However, it is not always that simple for law enforcement to find guns like they do in TV shows and movies. There is something out there called a “ghost gun,” which is a gun that can be ordered online and assembled at home without a need for any background check. 

This is becoming an increasing way for criminals to circumvent background checks and commit crimes with lower levels of detection. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld a Biden administration policy that regulates ghost guns. This case reached the Supreme Court when a federal judge in Texas invalidated the policy aimed at the regulation of ghost guns. 

Through the Second Amendment, Americans possess the right to bear arms. As frustratingly vague as this vernacular can be at times, it is a reasonable argument to say the Constitution Framers would oppose the idea of clandestine assembly and use of guns for illicit means. 

As said in the Second Amendment, the existence of a well-regulated militia shall not be infringed upon by the government and it is through this that citizens shall maintain their arms. The Second Amendment does not condone, nor allow for the use of weapons like ghost guns, especially for the sake of committing crimes.

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Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States reinstated a regulation on ghost guns that would make it easier for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to reverse the flow of firearms that do not have a trackable serial number. 

The decision by the Supreme Court came after US district judge Reed O’Connor struck down the regulation, claiming that the regulation exceeded the ATF’s authority granted to it in the Gun Control Act of 1968. The Supreme Court disagreed with this assessment, deciding 5-4 that the public interest in preventing the flow of ghost guns far outweighs the negative impact it might have on respondents. However, though the regulation has been reinstated, reports are stating that this is only temporary and that the Supreme Court is likely to revisit the issue in the near future. 

The decision from the Supreme Court should bring much relief to those who are concerned about the overwhelming amount of gun violence that the U.S. is facing. Right now, there are approximately 434 million guns in the U.S. – not counting the number of unregistered ghost guns. If the federal government did not take action to prevent the manufacturing and distribution of these weapons, we could see the issue of gun violence get significantly worse. 

Allowing these weapons to continue flowing would provide an option to obtain a firearm for people who otherwise would not be able to get one legally. That being said, the Supreme Court was right to recognize that the public interest in keeping ghost guns off the streets serves a much more compelling interest to the country than it is to the participants of the “black market.”

However, as mentioned, this issue is likely going to be revisited soon – so we will see if the interest of the people remains the top priority for the Supreme Court. 

– James Demertzis

Learn more about the liberal viewpoint

“We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.”

Libertarian Party Platform Plank 1.9

No government has any right to trace or track any firearm. A free society utilizes firearms as a last resort against the forces of tyranny; government knowledge of who owns firearms and where those firearms are located undermines this very purpose of the Second Amendment. So-called “ghost guns” are the answer to government attempts to disarm civilians. By purchasing the parts and assembling the firearm at home, government surveillance is evaded and the purchaser remains secure in their Second Amendment rights. Any laws that prohibit these firearms violate the Second Amendment as they infringe upon a person’s right to keep and bear arms. 

Moreover, “ghost guns” are rarely used in any crimes, much less mass shootings; banning them would not result in any substantial decrease in gun crimes, but enforcement of such a ban would be costly and create criminals out of ordinary Americans who just want to be able to defend themselves.  

The solution to gun violence is not banning guns. Violence, as with most criminal behavior, originates from socioeconomic factors, including poverty, homelessness, underfunded social services, underperforming schools and lack of job opportunities. These issues must be rectified if crime, including shootings, is to be reduced. Social services should be augmented by private charities, which are more efficient than the government in providing for the less fortunate. Policies that support school choice would grant access to private schools, charter schools, homeschooling and other educational alternatives, removing students from failing public schools and placing them in institutions that prepare them to thrive in adult life. These reforms would remove the drivers of criminal activity and create more productive members of society.

Combating gun deaths will never work with gun bans. Only policies that remove socioeconomic factors behind criminal activity will be successful in this endeavor.

– Pietro S. Geraci

Learn more about the libertarian viewpoint