The Wall Street Journal featured a story yesterday about Gary Marbut, a Montana gun rights advocate and a key figure in an upcoming legal battle that may challenge Congress’s constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce. His Firearms Freedom Act, adopted by eight states so far, attempts to block federal regulation of guns that are manufactured and used within the state.
Marbut argues that the broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause in Wickard v. Filburn is incorrect, and that the Constitution only gives Congress the authority to regulate when interstate commerce is directly affected:
He conceived of the Firearms Freedom Act as a way to get it reconsidered. He says he focused on the commerce clause, rather than Second Amendment theories popular with firearms enthusiasts, to prompt a broad ruling that would rein in federal power.
ALR members Kathleen Callahan and Lisa Lindemenn recently discussed this “Commerce Battering Ram” in their paper Arming States’ Rights: Federalism, Private Lawmakers, and the Battering Ram Strategy.