Vice blames "ghost guns" for Giffords lawsuit against ATF

Vice blames "ghost guns" for Giffords lawsuit against ATF
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

So-called ghost guns have made a lot of headlines over the years, despite the fact that we know they’re just not as big of a threat as some claim.

Despite the facts, though, President Joe Biden ordered the ATF to do something about these homemade firearms.


Giffords touted the new measures as a huge step forward. They celebrated the new regulations.

Now, they’re suing them.

Yet Vice gives a story about the lawsuit the headline, “Ghost Guns Are Causing Chaos in American Courts.”

A prominent gun control group that just a few months ago praised President Joe Biden’s new rules on ghost guns is now suing the administration, claiming federal regulators left “mile-wide loopholes” that have “flooded the country” with untraceable, home-assembled weapons.

The lawsuit, filed by the Giffords Law Center, the state of California, and families affected by gun violence, is the latest legal assault on the Biden administration’s attempt to rein in ghost guns, which do not require a background check and lack serial numbers that aid crime investigations.

In the wake of Supreme Court rulings that have upended decades of Second Amendment precedent, judges across the U.S. are now reinterpreting the law and confronting new firearms technology that didn’t exist a few years ago, let alone when the Constitution was drafted.

Biden unveiled the policy change with fanfare in a speech at the Rose Garden with the participation of a school shooting victim wounded by a ghost gun. The father of a victim killed in that same school shooting is now a plaintiff in Giffords’ lawsuit challenging the rules Biden trumpeted that day.

When the rules took effect in August, Giffords, which is affiliated with former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, sent out a press release touting how it would “finally close the loophole that has allowed for the proliferation of untraceable firearms.”

Just two months later, on Oct. 20, Giffords filed an amended complaint in federal court calling for the ATF to fix “a massive loophole.”


The problem for Giffords is that they claim the ATF is misinterpreting their own rule regarding so-called ghost guns.

And, to be fair, they might have a point. While I’m not about to file a lawsuit over it, the phrasing of the regulation doesn’t appear to be specific to kits, but that’s how it’s being enforced.

Yet it’s not the “ghost guns” themselves that are causing issues here. In this case, the problem is two notoriously anti-gun groups–the ATF and Giffords–taking issue with just how far to take their anti-gun antics.

But Vice is specific to the courts. What do they mean? Well, we’ve got this:

California has also been grappling with legal challenges to its state-level attempts to regulate ghost guns, and one recently decided case may have national implications going forward. The company Defense Distributed, which sells a device called the Ghost Gunner that is capable of converting raw hunk of material into an 80 percent frame, sued California over efforts to ban its product. On Oct. 21, a federal district court judge sided with the state, ruling that the Second Amendment does not explicitly protect “self-manufacture of firearms.”

Cody Wilson, the founder and director of Defense Distributed, told VICE News he plans to appeal the decision and is confident that higher court judges would overturn California’s victory under a recent Supreme Court ruling known as the Bruen decision. The opinion handed down in June overturned a New York state restriction on concealed handguns, and in doing so opened the door to broader legal challenges on gun regulations across the country. Judges have offered conflicting interpretations, with one federal district court in West Virginia wiping out a longstanding ban on possessing weapons with obliterated serial numbers.


Of course, Wilson is right. There’s absolutely no way the California case will survive a trip before the Supreme Court following Bruen. The truth is that it shouldn’t even have survived the district court.

But again, it isn’t so-called ghost guns creating the issue. In this case, it’s a court that clearly failed to apply the Bruen decision compared to another–this one in West Virginia–that did.

Look, I get that the headline writer was trying to use a bit of rhetorical flourish or whatever to make a point, but it’s another example of blaming guns for what people do.


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