Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Biden’s Attempt to Ban Ghost Gun…

A federal appeals court invalidated a rule that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives had put in place to deal with “ghost guns” on Thursday.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a 2022 regulation aimed at weapons that might be assembled from internet parts without a background check exceeded the agency’s power.

According to Reuters, former President Donald Trump appointed all three justices to the panel.

Cody Wisniewski, a lawyer for the Firearms Policy Coalition Action Foundation, said the ruling was a “massive victory against ATF and a huge blow to the Biden administration’s gun control agenda.”

The rule revised the legal definitions of “firearm,” “frame,” and “receiver” as they appeared in the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Judge Kurt Engelhardt wrote in the decision that “law-making power—the ability to transform policy into real-world obligations—lies solely with the legislative branch.”

“Where an executive agency engages in what is, for all intents and purposes, ‘law-making,’ the legislature is deprived of its primary function under our Constitution, and our citizens are robbed of their right to fair representation in government. This is especially true when the executive rule-turned-law criminalizes conduct without the say of the people who are subject to its penalties,” he wrote.

Engelhardt said the rule does what the ATF might want Congress to do but has not.

“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,” he wrote.

He claimed that ATF “attempted to take on the mantle of Congress to ‘do something’ about gun control.” However, it is not the responsibility of an executive agency to draft laws for our country.

“An agency cannot label conduct lawful one day and felonious the next—yet that is exactly what ATF accomplishes through its Final Rule,” he wrote.

In a concurring opinion, Judge Andrew Oldham fired a magazine of zingers at the ATF.

“ATF’s overarching goal in the Final Rule is to replace a clear, bright-line rule with a vague, indeterminate, multi-factor balancing test. ATF’s rationale: The new uncertainty will act like a Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of American gun owners,” Oldham wrote, referring to an ancient tale of a deadly blade suspended by a single strand of horsehair.

“Private gunmaking is steeped in history and tradition, dating back to long before the Founding. Millions of law-abiding Americans work on gun frames and receivers every year. In those pursuits, law-abiding Americans (and the law-abiding gun companies that serve them) rely on longstanding regulatory certainty to avoid falling afoul of federal gun laws,” he wrote.

“But if ATF can destroy that certainty, it hopes law-abiding Americans will abandon tradition rather than risk the ruinous felony prosecutions that come with violating the new, nebulous, impossible-to-predict Final Rule,” he wrote.

The ATF rule, he wrote, “is limitless. It purports to regulate any piece of metal or plastic that has been machined beyond its primordial state for fear that it might one day be turned into a gun, a gun frame, or a gun receiver. And it doesn’t stop regulating the metal or plastic until it’s melted back down to ooze. The GCA allows none of this. I concur in the majority’s opinion holding the Final Rule is unlawful,” he wrote.

Regardless of the verdict, the rule is expected to remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

According to The Hill, the Supreme Court has left the regulation in place throughout the legal battles surrounding it and is likely to do so again now that the Justice Department is preparing to appeal the current verdict to the Supreme Court.