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Supreme Court will take up ghost guns case next term

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(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court said Monday it would take up the issue of “ghost guns” next term and the Biden administration’s appeal seeking to regulate the self-assemble weapons kits as any other firearm.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a 2022 regulation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that determined the sale of weapons kits requires a background check and serialization of the parts for law enforcement tracking.

President Joe Biden had announced the new regulations in a White House event from the Rose Garden in April 2022.

“They call this rule I’m about to announce extreme,” Biden said at the White House Rose Garden event. “But let me ask you, ‘Is it extreme to protect police officers, extreme to protect our children, extreme to keep guns out of the hands of people who couldn’t even pass a background check?"”

A ghost gun is a firearm that comes packaged in parts, which can be bought online and assembled without a serial number used for tracking.

The case will not be heard before the court until the fall.

The Supreme Court had granted a stay reinstating the federal regulation on ghost guns in August 2023, putting on hold a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that had struck down the rule, while the Department of Justice appealed to the 5th Circuit. The 5th Circuit, which is made up of three appointees of former President Donald Trump, then largely upheld the Texas judge’s ruling.

However, the Supreme Court has allowed the regulations to stay in place while the legal challenges play out.

The use of ghost guns has exploded in recent years as they became easier to order online and assemble in minutes.

In 2016, law enforcement agencies recovered 1,758 ghost guns, according to the Federal Register. In 2021, law enforcement agencies recovered 19,344 ghost guns, nearly double the number recovered in 2020.

ABC News’ Jack Date, Armando Garcia and Libby Cathey contributed to this report.

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