July 31, 2023
Justice Alito temporarily revives ghost gun rule
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July 31, 2023 ● By Sunny Sone
Good morning, Bulletin readers.
On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily reinstated the Biden administration’s ability to regulate ghost guns — homemade, untraceable firearms — overriding a lower court’s decision to block the government from enforcing a new ATF rule nationwide. At issue is a new rule by the ATF that classifies “buy, build, shoot” kits as completed firearms under federal law, CNN reported, and requires that the weapons be marked with serial numbers, that dealers run background checks prior to sales, and that all manufacturers and sellers of the kits be licensed. The rule does not prohibit the sale, purchase, or possession of ghost gun kits.
Alito, who has jurisdiction over the lower court in Texas that issued the block, put the case on hold until August 4, Reuters reported. The justice’s temporary reinstatement came in response to a request from the Biden administration to block the ruling pending an appeal.
As The Trace reported last year, shortly after the regulation went into effect, ghost gun dealers quickly found ways to skirt the rule, showing that the regulation may have little tangible effect on the criminal use of homemade firearms. A May 2022 ATF report found that ghost gun recoveries increased 1,000 percent between 2016 and 2021. Nearly 700 of the guns recovered in that time period were linked to homicides or attempted homicides.
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What to Know Today
More than a dozen state and federal laws have been invalidated in whole or in part since the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision last year, new research shows. The flurry of legal activity in the immediate aftermath of Bruen far outpaces that of the court’s last major gun decision, District of Columbia v. Heller. [Politico/Duke Law Journal]
Since 1999, Connecticut has reduced its prison population by half and closed 10 prisons — and, at the same time, brought its crime rate to its lowest level in 40 years. Between 2012 and 2021, violent crime in the state decreased by 43 percent. [Slate]
Child gun deaths could be significantly curbed by parents talking to one another about the presence of firearms in homes, experts say. One key to avoid entering “political war” with other parents: not demonizing gun owners. [The 19th]
A recent Hawaii law bans guns on beaches. A federal judge will soon decide if the state can continue enforcing the measure while a lawsuit against it plays out. [Associated Press]
Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed last year in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, announced that she’s running for mayor in a special election in November. “If I’m going to be staying here,” she said in an interview, “I want it to be the best possible town it can be for my children and for the rest of the community.” [Texas Monthly]
The National School Safety Conference bills itself as the largest school security gathering in the world. Last week’s gathering in Las Vegas boasted 1,400 attendees from across the country and nearly 100 vendors. But school violence experts question whether the security products offered by the industry, many of which focus on identifying or slowing a shooter rather than prevention, are the right investment for schools. [Bridge Michigan]
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$3 billion — the value of the school security industry as of 2021. Experts say the industry is expected to see 8 percent growth each year. [CNBC via Bridge Michigan]
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