The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a federal judge’s order suspending the Biden administration’s “ghost guns” rule, which regulates gun parts kits as traditional firearms.
After blocking U.S. District for the Northern District of Texas Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision to vacate the rule nationwide in August, the Supreme Court vacated O’Connor’s more recent Sept. 14 injunction suspending enforcement of the regulation against two manufacturing companies, Blackhawk Manufacturing and Defense Distributed. The justice’s decision leaves in place the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “Frame or Receiver” rule, which expands the definition of firearm to encompass parts kits that are “readily convertible to functional weapons” or “functional ‘frames’ or ‘receivers’ of weapons.
The justices split 5-4 on blocking the lower court’s ruling in August but Monday’s brief order includes no noted dissents. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch previously dissented.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued in a filing last week that O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, lacked the authority to circumvent the Supreme Court’s earlier order.
“Respondents still have not identified even a single prior case where a district court responded to this Court’s order fixing the relationship between the parties during litigation by entering further relief based on the district court’s own reweighing of the merits and the equities,” she wrote. “And respondents also cannot justify that unprecedented circumvention of this Court’s order.”
Katelynn Richardson on October 17, 2023