Lopez vs Us

In: Other Topics

Submitted By crossy62411
Words 750
Pages 3
Facts
The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 (GFSZA) made it unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that he knew or had reasonable cause to believe was a school zone. Alfonso Lopez, Jr. (D), a 12th-grade student, carried a concealed and loaded handgun into his high school and was arrested and charged under Texas law with firearm possession on school premises. The next day, the state charges were dismissed after federal agents charged Lopez with violating the Act.

The District Court denied Lopez’s motion to dismiss the indictment, concluding that the GFSZA was a constitutional exercise of Congress’ power pursuant to the Commerce Clause of Article I. The Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that the Act exceeded Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause and was therefore unconstitutional. The Supreme Court granted cert.

Issues
Does the GFSZA exceed Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause?
What categories of activity may Congress regulate under its commerce power?
Holding and Rule (Rehnquist)
Yes. The GFSZA exceeded Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.
The three broad categories of activity that Congress may regulate under its commerce power are: a) the use of the channels of interstate commerce; b) Congress is empowered to regulate and protect the instrumentalities of interstate commerce, or persons or things in interstate commerce, even though the threat may come only from intrastate activities; and c) Congress’ commerce authority includes the power to regulate those activities having a substantial relation to interstate commerce, i.e., those activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.
The Supreme Court held that the GFSZA exceeded Congress’ Commerce Clause authority. The possession of a gun in a local school zone is in no sense an economic activity that might, through repetition elsewhere, have a…...

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