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Cooley Files Amicus Brief in Support of ATF, DOJ ‘Ghost Gun’ Rule Addressing Rapidly Proliferating, Untraceable Weapons

New federal rule will prevent the spread, sale of unserialized firearms that can be quickly assembled at home

Washington, DC – July 28, 2022 – Cooley filed an amicus brief on behalf of Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, March for Our Lives and Everytown for Gun Safety in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Division 80 LLC v. Garland, a case challenging a new rule on “ghost guns” issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Department of Justice. Lawyers Daniel Grooms, Kathleen Hartnett, Adam Katz and Rachel Alpert led the Cooley effort.

The new rule will prevent the spread and sale of “ghost guns” – fully functional, unserialized and untraceable weapons that can be quickly and easily assembled from components available for purchase online or at gun shows – and prohibit purchasers seeking firearms for criminal activity. The brief argues that the new rule comports with the plain language of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and its law-and-order objectives, recognizes the practical reality that modern technology allows ghost guns to be assembled by novices and experts alike with alarming ease and speed, and is consistent with the ATF’s long-standing view that unfinished frames and receivers can be “firearms.”

“The ghost gun rule issued by the Biden-Harris administration simply makes a very important clarification. Ghost guns are guns, and should be regulated as such,” Shira Feldman, Brady counsel, said in a news release. “This rule simply ensures that existing law isn’t being undermined by individuals looking to gain easy access to firearms for use in a crime or the companies that profit from them.”

The brief calls attention to the many ways in which neglecting to recognize ghost guns as “firearms” would undermine federal firearms laws and highlights data illustrating that ghost guns have become the weapon of choice for criminals seeking to evade law enforcement.

Read the brief

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Related Contacts
Daniel Grooms  Partner Washington, DC
Kathleen R. Hartnett  Partner San Francisco
Adam M. Katz  Associate Boston
Rachel Alpert  Associate Boston
Douglas Lyles  Senior Research Services & Access Analyst
Related Practices & Industries

Pro Bono