AG Kris Mayes withdraws Arizona from ‘ghost gun’ regulation challenge

Mar 17, 2023, 2:00 PM
FILE - This Nov. 27, 2019, file photo shows "ghost guns" on display at the headquarters of the San ...

FILE - This Nov. 27, 2019, file photo shows "ghost guns" on display at the headquarters of the San Francisco Police Department in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

(AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

PHOENIX — Democratic Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said Friday she is withdrawing the state from challenging federal regulation of firearm parts that can be used to make “ghost guns.”

Former Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, joined with West Virginia to lead a multistate lawsuit over the issue in July 2022.

Brnovich at the time said it was unconstitutional for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to regulate unfinished, non-functional parts as if they were complete firearms.

Mayes disagrees with Brnovich’s take on the issue, saying in a press release that the agency’s modernized definition of a firearm includes parts kits that can be assembled into functional weapons, privately made firearms and ghost guns.

“I believe this rule is within the ATF’s authority and provides much-needed regulation of ghost guns, which have proliferated in recent years and have made law enforcement’s job more difficult and dangerous,” Mayes said in the release.

Brnovich said the regulation threatened America’s tradition of private firearms manufacturing and it takes steps toward the illegal creation of a national firearms registry.

After failing to get an injunction in District Court, the multistate coalition appealed to the Eighth Circuit, where it is currently pending, according to Mayes’ release.

Since taking office, Mayes has removed Arizona from several legal actions initiated by her predecessor. She previously withdrew from a lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan as well as an investigation into ESG bank investment practices.

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AG Kris Mayes withdraws Arizona from ‘ghost gun’ regulation challenge