Supreme Court tells Fifth Circuit to stop its defiance in ghost gun case

The U.S. Supreme Court has once again stepped in to uphold the federal ban on “ghost guns,” overturning lower court orders that blocked enforcement.

Background of the case: The ban on unassembled, unmarked guns or “ghost guns,” that can be bought online and later assembled, has been in legal dispute.
* In August 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued regulations to manage these guns, requiring disassembled gun parts to carry serial numbers and buyers to pass background checks.
* Federal Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas issued an injunction preventing the rule from going into effect.

Legal tug-of-war: The lower courts and the Supreme Court have been in a back and forth over the issue of enforcement.
* After the Supreme Court initially blocked the lower court’s decision, gun manufacturers returned to Judge O’Connor’s court and won an order preventing the government from enforcing its regulations.
* The Fifth Circuit upheld this order, prompting the government to request the Supreme Court void the lower court rulings.

Latest development: This week, the Supreme Court voided the lower court orders, permitted the ATF regulations to proceed pending further litigation.
* There were no noted dissents among the Supreme Court justices.
* The federal government had argued for this step as a rebuke to lower courts that had attempted to “countermand” the Supreme Court’s “authoritative determination.”

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