Federal judge declines to block Nevada ‘ghost gun’ ban
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Federal judge declines to block Nevada ‘ghost gun’ ban

A federal judge on Monday rejected an attempt to block enforcement of Nevada’s ban on so-called “ghost guns,” including the sale of guns without serial numbers and unfinished weapons for self-assembly.

Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), a Second Amendment advocacy non-profit, along with several Nevada gun owners, sought a preliminary injunction to halt AB 286 from going into effect. This bill was passed by the state legislature earlier this year to promote increased transparency and traceability in gun sales. One of the bill’s sponsors explained during the session that ghost guns are of particular concern to Nevadans because “one of the largest unfinished receiver kit companies in the nation, Polymer80, Inc. is based [in Nevada].”

AB 286 bans transactions involving incomplete gun frames and receivers as well as unserialized weapons, with exceptions for antique guns and collectors’ items. Firearms importers and manufacturers are also exempt from this law. People who possess unfinished or unserialized firearms within the state must get rid of them before the law takes effect on January 1 of next year.

The NPC argued that the prohibition on self-assembled firearms infringed on their Second Amendment right to bear arms. They claimed: “This right to keep and bear all arms commonly possessed for lawful purposes includes—and has always included—the right to self-manufacture such arms.” They also alleged that the provision requiring Nevada residents in possession of the banned firearms to dispose of them without compensation constitutes a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause.

Judge Miranda Du rejected both claims, noting that AB 286 does not prevent individuals from self-manufacturing firearms, so long as these homemade gun kits come pre-stamped with serial numbers. She concluded that the law “does not severely burden Second Amendment protected conduct, but merely regulates it.”

Du also held that the ban did not rise to the level of a taking because the purpose of promoting traceability of weapons for law enforcement purposes is both “substantial and important” and “a “reasonable fit” with the government’s asserted objectives,” satisfying the prongs required to meet the standard of intermediate scrutiny.