Does Arkansas’ ghost gun law override federal regulations?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Last month, President Joe Biden announced a rule by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) aimed at helping take untraceable ghost guns off the streets in the U.S. The term “ghost guns” is used to describe guns that have no serial numbers and are therefore virtually impossible for law enforcement to track back to their owners or sellers. They’re often made from kits sold online or even using 3D printers.

The new rule would require ghost gun kits to have serial numbers. It would also require sellers to be federally licensed to sell them and to do background checks on prospective buyers.

Arkansas’ Intrastate Firearms Protection Act

Like many states, Arkansas law doesn’t ban ghost guns. In fact, last year, Arkansas state lawmakers took steps to get ahead of anticipated federal restrictions by the Biden administration. The legislation that was passed and signed into law, the Intrastate Firearms Protection Act, exempts any guns that are made, sold and remain in Arkansas from any federal regulations.

Arkansas lawmakers also made it a crime for a federal law enforcement agent to even try to enforce any federal law or other regulation “created or effective on or after January 1, 2021” related to firearms or ammunition within the state of Arkansas and for local or state law enforcement to assist federal agencies in enforcing these laws.

While the constitutionality of the Arkansas law is a matter of debate, it can leave gun owners, sellers and even law enforcement unclear about what guns are legal or illegal to sell, possess and use in a lawful manner. There’s no question that gun laws are a hot political topic. That can lead to conflicting and ever-changing laws. If you or a loved one is facing weapons-related charges, it’s crucial to understand and protect your rights.