July 7, 2024

Maryland joins forces with other states in SCOTUS 'ghost gun' amicus brief

Another state has lent its support to a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to maintain federal restrictions targeting firearms which individuals can assemble themselves from kits.

Maryland has aligned with 21 states, the District of Columbia, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands in its plea to the high court, seeking a final decision on their desired continuation of the rule that was put into place in 2022 and which imposed significant restrictions on so-called “ghost guns,” as Maryland Matters reports.

Maryland lends support to SCOTUS brief

According to the signatories to the aforementioned amicus brief, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) did not exceed its rightful authority in promulgating a rule mandating the treatment of ghost guns like conventional firearms.

The rule necessitated the addition of serial numbers, the creation and maintenance of sales records, and the use of background checks for prospective purchasers.

In the estimation of those who signed onto the brief, the federal regulation is critical in order to “close a loophole allowing individuals to avoid state and local laws controlling firearms by the simple expediency of crossing a state line to purchase one.”

As a means to support their position, the states pointed to early data suggesting that recoveries of ghost guns have dropped ever since the federal rules were put into effect.

Opponents prepare for high court battle

On the other side of the argument are gun rights proponents who believe that the ATF lacked sufficient authority to develop the rule pursuant to the Gun Control Act.

They contend that the legislation at issue “regulates weapons, not weapon part kits” such as those widely referred to as “ghost guns.”

In response to those arguments, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals concurred with the gun rights advocates' position, noting that the ATF “has essentially rewritten” the statute in an unlawful manner.

Though the panel rejected the rule, it did permit it to remain in effect pending further appeal.

It was in April that the Supreme Court accepted the case for consideration in its next term, though oral arguments have not yet been set.

One thing is certain, and that is that Second Amendment advocates and gun control proponents alike will be keeping their eyes on the case as it makes its way toward a final ruling from the highest court in the land.

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