Gonzales v Raich Draws its First Gun Law Victim.
If you haven’t, read my earlier piece “Game Over, Man. Game Over.” It gives decent background information on the U.S. v Stewart decision in which the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a man for possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony, but decided that his possession of a home-made fully-automatic weapon was not per se illegal as it did not affect interstate commerce and therefore was outside the power of the Federal government to regulate.
If you weren’t aware, an individual can build himself a firearm with perfect legality. He just can’t ever sell it. The Stewart decision said that individuals can build themselves fully-automatic weapons, too, even though the 1986 Firearm Owner’s Protection Act carried a rider making it illegal to manufacture any new fully-automatic weapons for the general public. (Police, other government agencies, and properly licensed corporations were excepted from this ban.)
Well, that decision (unsurprisingly) was appealed to the Supreme Court. They granted certiorari on it today, vacating the decision and remanding it to the 9th Circuit. Note the instructions:
The motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for further consideration in light of Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S.
I wrote a little piece on the Raich decision, and quoted Justice Thomas:
If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress’ Article I powers–as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause–have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to appropria[te] state police powers under the guise of “regulating commerce.”
If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.
It’s pretty obvious that the Supreme Court just told the 9th Circuit, “No homemade machineguns. To hell with limited powers.”
That was quicker than I expected. Good to know where we stand, I suppose.
Of course, David Hardy covers the story earlier and better than I did.