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Appeals court strikes down ATF's 'ghost gun' restrictions

The ruling is a blow to President Joe Biden, who has called for tighter restrictions on firearms, including an assault weapons ban.

Published: November 10, 2023 5:43pm

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously struck down the Biden administration's restrictions on "ghost guns," or firearms without serial numbers, determining that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) lacked authority to enact them.

The decision upholds a lower court decision that held the ATF exceeded its authority. The U.S. Supreme Court had allowed the restrictions to take effect while the case made its way through the appeals process.

"The agency rule at issue here flouts clear statutory text and exceeds the legislatively-imposed limits on agency authority in the name of public policy," wrote Judge Kurt Engelhardt, according to The Hill. "ATF, in promulgating its Final Rule, attempted to take on the mantle of Congress to 'do something' with respect to gun control. But it is not the province of an executive agency to write laws for our nation. That vital duty, for better or for worse, lies solely with the legislature."

The ruling is a blow to President Joe Biden, who has called for tighter restrictions on firearms, including an assault weapons ban. Earlier in his administration, the Supreme Court struck down a New York State requirement that concealed carry permit applicants demonstrate a need to carry a firearm. The Bruen decision has since prompted a litany of gun rights lawsuits, seeking to invalidate gun control measures across the nation.

Biden has, however, managed to secure some congressional approval for his gun control agenda, passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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