WASHINGTON, D.C. USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Justice Department’s [DoJ] new proposed regulations for “ghost guns” – i.e., guns made from kits the allow buyers to assemble firearms, and guns made using 3D printers – to require retailers to run background checks, and to force manufacturers to include a serial number to help trace such devices, may run afoul of a recent federal appeals court decision which sought to rely upon the same tactic of more broadly defining a statutory term, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
In order to accomplish its goal, DoJ would very substantially expand its regulations defining the statutory term “firearm” – and the related terms firearm “frame or receiver” – to include many smaller parts which could go into the assembly of a gun.
For example, the rule would expand the current definition of “firearm” to include “a weapon parts kit that is designed to or may readily be assembled, completed, converted, or restored to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.”
But, suggests Banzhaf, this redefinition of the statutory terms would be incredibly broad, and could well amount to a major re-writing of the statute, without any congressional action, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms [ATF].
Indeed, as the agency itself admits, “these courts’ interpretation of ATF’s [current] regulations, if broadly followed, could mean that as many as 90 percent of all firearms now in the United States would not have any frame or receiver subject to regulation.”
It also concedes that the “ATF’s regulatory definitions of ‘frame or receiver’ do not expressly capture these types of firearms (i.e., split/multi-piece receivers) that now constitute the majority of firearms in the United States, and that “neither the upper nor the lower portion of a split/multi-piece receiver firearm alone falls within the precise wording of the regulatory definition.”
And as Attorney General Merrick B.Garland just candidly admitted to a House appropriations subcommittee, it was even unclear whether ghost guns “are defined as firearms themselves.”
But when this agency tried to use the same tactic – dramatically expanding a statutory definition to give it more power to regulate firearms – the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals shot it down.
Click the link to read the whole article: New “Ghost Gun” Regulation May Be Illegal