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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Congressional Authority to Regulate Firearms: A Legal Overview

Vivian S. Chu
Legislative Attorney

Congress has broad authority pursuant to the Commerce Clause to enact laws in areas that may overlap with traditional state jurisdiction. As such, Congress has passed complex statutory provisions that regulate the possession, receipt, transfer, and manufacture of firearms and ammunition. Generally, courts have upheld the validity of firearms laws pursuant to Congress’s commerce power. However, courts have been confronted with the question of whether federal laws can be applied to intrastate possession and intrastate transfers of firearms, or whether such application exceeds the authority of Congress. This report explores these cases and how courts have analyzed these as-applied challenges under the Supreme Court’s Commerce Clause jurisprudence primarily set forth in United States v. Lopez.

Date of Report: April 5, 2013
Number of Pages: 17
Order Number: R43033
Price: $29.95

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