Gun safety organizations claimed the letter was a significant step in addressing the growing issue of ghost guns, which has led to increases in violent crime, particularly on the West Coast, in recent decades. These groups had pressed Steven M. Dettelbach, the A.T.F.’s new head, to act more decisively.
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John Feinblatt, the CEO of Everytown, said that “A.T.F. heeded to the requests for real enforcement of President Biden’s tough ghost gun regulations to prevent the stream of these lethal weapons into our neighborhoods.” “We commend today’s advice demonstrating that A.T.F. won’t permit the gun industry to violate our country’s laws,” the statement reads.
The Justice Department presented the action as clarifying the regulation, but it is not without risk. Companies now feel confident that they may continue selling individual gun parts because the rule was imposed by executive action rather than a statute approved by Congress.
Speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to publicly discuss potential litigation, administration officials predicted that the new guidance would almost certainly be troubled in federal court on the grounds that it violates the Gun Control Act of 1968, which permits people to create firearms for their own use without having to undergo background checks or apply for serial numbers.
According to Larry Keane, a top official with the National Sport Shooting Foundation, a trade group for the firearms industry, the guidance will simply “further confuse the industry as to when an incomplete, incomplete component is a ‘frame’ or’receiver’ — and thus regulated.”
Following a string of horrific murders involving them, certain states with a liberal tilt have established their own legislation to control ghost firearms. At least ten states have already taken such action, and several cities, including New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, have sued manufacturers of ghost guns for attacks committed with such weapons.
However, the new federal rule was fiercely opposed by the gun lobby, and it has already been contested by a number of conservative legal organizations.
The Biden administration was sued in federal court in North Dakota in August by 17 states and a group of gun rights advocates. Although that action was dismissed, a lawsuit in a federal court in Texas was left unresolved when a judge issued a temporary protective order prohibiting the execution of the rule.