(The Center Square) – The Biden administration is moving forward with its pledge to mitigate the presence of homemade, untraceable “ghost guns” on America’s streets through regulatory tweaks and rule-making that circumvents congressional lawmakers.
To do that, the U.S. Bureau of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) maintains it must redefine “receiver” and be permitted to regulate firearms parts.
A proposed rule, Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms, updates BATF’s interpretations of “firearm” and “frame or receiver” used in the Gun Control Act of 1968 to “clarify that weapon kits and incomplete weapon parts, both of which can be easily converted into functioning guns,” and are now are covered under the act.
The public comment period for the proposed rule-change expired last month. BATF is set to draft its final proposed regulation this fall. Once posted, it can be adopted 60 days later.
But Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and a coalition of 20 Republican state Attorneys General say BATF’s move is unconstitutional and “should be reversed immediately.”
“By sidestepping Congress, BATF has far exceeded its authority as a federal agency, attempting to regulate unfinished metal parts,” Schmitt said in a statement that accompanied a letter from the 20 AGs to BATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson.
“This unconstitutional rule change infringes on Missourians and Americans’ rights to keep and bear arms and will likely put manufacturers and retailers out of business,” Schmitt wrote. “It should be reversed immediately.”
Under the existing definition, “receiver” applies to single-framed firearms, including shotguns and revolvers, which were more prevalent than the semi-autos that now dominate the market when encoded in the 1968 Gun Control Act.
Under the proposed definition, BATF could regulate the purchase of “80% receivers,” which the agency says “can be easily assembled into unserialized and untraceable ghost guns.”
But in their letter, the 20 GOP Attorneys General say BATF has not assessed impacts of its proposed rule change, referring to a study that found if the new rule is adopted, at least 35 businesses nationwide would be forced to close or scale back with the loss of $1.1 million in jobs and revenues.
Schmitt is already tangling with the federal government in defending House Bill 85, Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA), adopted during the 2021 session.
HB 85 “nullifies” federal laws or “other actions deemed to infringe on a person’s Second Amendment right” while not imposing restrictions on federal authorities in enforcing federal gun laws. Under SAPA, local police are forbidden to assist federal agents in enforcing laws declared “invalid.”
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page in June sued the state to block HB 85 from going into effect on Aug. 28. Jackson County has since joined.
In a 37-page statement of interest filed last week by the U.S. Department of Justice, federal attorneys argue Missouri’s SAPA is “invalid” under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
Originally Appeared Here