NYC Officials Beg SCOTUS to Uphold Useless 'Ghost Gun' Rule

AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura

We live in an amazing age.

I mean, I can buy something on Amazon that will allow me to build as many firearms as I want. Sure, it might not include a lot of parts, but the receiver itself is certainly doable. Then I can get the other bits and complete a firearm, all without ever having to leave my house.


For a homebody like me, that's living the dream.

But the truth is that even if you were to ban me from doing so, the technology and files are already out there, Someone is going to build them whether we approve or not. 

That's not stopping many places from trying to ban the practice of making your own so-called ghost guns. New York is one such place.

Then we had the ATF get involved and create a rule that was supposedly going to address "ghost guns" but didn't really do anything except make things harder on law-abiding people.

Now that the law is being challenged, though, New York City officials are begging the Supreme Court to allow the prohibition to stand.

 NYC Mayor Eric Adams — co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns — and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. today announced the filing of an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Garland v. VanDerStok.

The announcement is in support of federal regulations issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that require ghost gun parts to have serial numbers and compel background checks for prospective buyers of ghost gun home-assembly kits.  

“Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing threats to public safety, and this Supreme Court case threatens to open the doors wide open for even more of them to flow into our communities,” said Mayor Adams. “President Biden and ATF Director Dettelbach have led the strongest gun safety administration in history, and the ghost gun rule they finalized saves lives. It’s common sense: ghost guns are guns, so they should be regulated like guns — and we’re grateful to our state lawmakers for passing laws that recognize that. We will continue to do everything in our power to dam every river that feeds the sea of gun violence and endangers New Yorkers, especially our young people.” 

“The continued prevalence of ghost guns poses a major threat to public safety in New York City,” said Manhattan District Attorney Bragg. “While shootings and homicides are down double digits in Manhattan thanks to our close coordination with the NYPD and our federal partners, the technology behind ghost guns is rapidly evolving. These federal rules are a commonsense effort to make it easier for law enforcement to trace ghost guns when they are used in crimes and prevent them from falling into the hands of those who may already have a criminal history. Having strong, comprehensive federal regulation of firearms is absolutely essential for combating the scourge of gun violence and keeping our communities safe.” 

“Ghost guns are guns, plain and simple, and they are dangerous,” said City Hall Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg. “New York City has been a national leader in addressing ghost guns, and the Biden administration’s rule is a sensible and necessary step to address this growing problem. I am proud to stand with the mayor and leaders from across the country in defense of this commonsense gun safety rule.”


Except this "commonsense gun safety rule" doesn't actually do anything at all.

The measure in question really doesn't ban "ghost guns" so much as make it so incomplete receivers can't be packaged with the other parts necessary to make a functioning firearm. All that people are doing is simply buying multiple products to make up the difference and are still making the guns.

Look, we need to understand a few things about these guns.

First, the threat posed by these weapons is overblown at best. While criminals do get their hands on these, the reality is that there's zero evidence that these same criminals wouldn't have gotten a more traditionally manufactured gun. Cutting off a potential supply only creates an impact if those criminals can't get guns through other means, but theft is still the way most get them in the first place. Nothing has changed.

We also know that "ghost guns" account for only a tiny fraction of the firearms recovered by law enforcement in the first place.

So yeah, the threat is overblown.

Moreover, even if you banned unfinished receivers completely--and you can't because someone can just use raw materials to make receivers with sufficient know-how and you're not going to ban those raw materials--the world of 3D printing means anyone can make their own receivers. Again, banning or restricting raw materials is impractical, so it's not likely to happen.


As for the other parts, virtually all of them are standard replacement parts for more traditionally manufactured guns, either for repair or upgrade. They're also all unserialized, so restricting them would be difficult at best and any attempt do so would involve the kind of fight that Democrats have nightmares about as it is.

So yeah, the rule in question accomplishes nothing.

Hell, New York has a far more restrictive prohibition on "ghost guns" and I've written about countless arrests involving these firearms, so you'll excuse me if I don't trip over myself believing that this rule actually accomplishes anything.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member