From the Wall Street Journal:
MISSOULA, Mont.—“With a homemade .22-caliber rifle he calls the Montana Buckaroo, Gary Marbut dreams of taking down the federal regulatory state.
Montana passed a law that tries to exempt the state from federal gun regulation. But the law is now before the courts, in a test of states’ rights. WSJ’s Jess Bravin reports.
He’s not planning to fire his gun. Instead, he wants to sell it, free from federal laws requiring him to record transactions, pay license fees and open his business to government inspectors.
For years, Mr. Marbut argued that a wide range of federal laws, not just gun regulations, should be invalid because they were based on an erroneous interpretation of Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. In his corner were a handful of conservative lawyers and academics. Now, with the rise of the tea-party movement, the self-employed shooting-range supplier finds himself leading a movement.
Ten state attorneys general, dozens of elected officials and an array of conservative groups are backing the legal challenge he engineered to get his constitutional theory before the Supreme Court. A federal appeals court in San Francisco is now considering his case.“
Gary Marbut has a colossal fight on his hands, but it is one I believe he can win. To me the issue lies not in the word “commerce,” but in the word “regulate.” Wikipedia, in its coverage of the commerce clause, is overly concerned with the definition and application of the word “commerce.” (Let’s put aside for now the common-sense definition of the word commerce as pertaining to economic activity only.) In doing so, they (as with many courts in the past) are focusing on the wrong word. The key word in the clause is “regulate.”Details