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One of the promises made by Donald Trump during the campaign was to remove gun-free school zones. The federal Gun Free School Zone Act has been an abominable infringement on the Second Amendment with no justification as anything other than an infringement on the right of Americans to bear arms. It does not improve safety. It does not protect “sensitive places.” It serves no legitimate purpose.

It has already been struck down once by the Supreme Court. And President-elect trump has vowed to repeal it.

The Gun Free School Zone Act creates an illusory area where most people are forbidden from bearing arms. The zone extends within 1,000 feet from the property line of any school. It’s unmarked and mostly unenforced.

It was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1995 in the famous U.S. v Lopez decision, where the Court concluded that there was no interstate commerce involved in a person bearing a firearm within a thousand feet of a school. That was the correct decision.

President Clinton, however, immediately pushed through a replacement bill, the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1995, with a few minor changes. The tweak intended to make the law pass constitutional muster was that it only applied to guns that had been “involved” in interstate commerce.

That’s distinction without a difference. Virtually everything can be said to be “involved” in interstate commerce. The molecules of oxygen that you breath have crossed state lines. The ore that was used to create the steel used to make a gun barrel crossed state and international borders. The water used to cool the turbines that created the electricity to power the motor that turned the machine to shape the gun barrel, crossed state lines.

This is the insane “thinking” that has made the phrase “interstate commerce” a nullity. The original law was struck down because everything is not part of interstate commerce, and the legislature cannot make it so simply by so stating.


A Trump administration can attack the law from two directions. One is the obvious frontal approach. Have Congress repeal the law. Given GOP control of both houses that’s plausible, and could work. The second option is to create a test case to bring the law before a newly constitutionalist Supreme Court, to be struck down on both Commerce Clause and Second Amendment grounds.

A sympathetic case could be made where a U.S. Attorney prosecutes an otherwise blameless woman for possessing a legal firearm within a thousand feet of a crime-ridden school in an inner city. A school zone prosecution case could be found or created and guided through the courts.

Perhaps both avenues should be pursued. They would reinforce each other. The judicial decision could be used as reason to push forward with a legislative solution. Uncertainty in a legislative solution could give impetus to the judicial one.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. While you’re at it, and using that sign as example, where in the constitution is the federal government authorized to regulate drugs? That is *also* unconstitutional.

    • the only real reason they regulate them is because they cant make money off them if they are legalized so with the pointless war on drugs they get the money they confiscate at the cost of good law enforcement lives. not to mention making them illegal in the first place only makes it taboo and more desirable thus black market thrives.

    • That is in our “Second” Constitution: the 3,000 PAGES of SCOTUS rulings that have perverted the 8,000 words [of the Original Constitution + all 27 Amendments].

    • Larry, the 18th Amendment gave the feds power to ban a drug (and only that one drug).

      The 21st Amendment revoked that power, but who cares about a silly thing like that?

  2. In many cities drawing 1000 foot circles around ever school or pseudo school effectively bans firearms in the city.
    This was GHWB naming a bad decision for sure.

  3. Good luck with this one. Even with majorities in Congress, trying to convince any elected official that voting to allow guns in elementary schools is going to be a tough road to hoe. You can argue logic all you want; the congressmen are going to be thinking about the attack ads used against ’em. I mean, hell, let’s give it a try, but I’m not holding my breath.

    The most sure way is the Supreme Court ruling that it’s unconstitutional (again). That way everybody gets their political cover, an unjust law disappears, and the R house and senate can both be too busy with other things to bother re-introducing a new version of the law.

  4. ” Virtually everything can be said to be “involved” in interstate commerce. The molecules of oxygen that you breath have crossed state lines.”

    And international borders.

    Someone ran the numbers awhile back and determined in every breath of air you inhale has at least a few atoms that everyone else that has ever lived has breathed.

    The good news is that means you have a direct connection with every great person that has ever lived, and the bad news is you are breathing in every despicable despot that ever was.

    And you will *never* be truly rid of any of your exes… 🙂

  5. Reads more like an argument to repeal Wickard v Filburn than the GFZ act. I agree. Take Ocare and the Kelo decision with it.

    Remember that human behavior is economic behavior;
    Wickard means Uncle Sam can regulate all commerce there is
    Kelo means Uncle Sam can force you to sell for our own good
    NFIB v Sebelius means Uncle Sam can force you to buy for our own good

  6. “involved” in interstate commerce.”

    Congress may Constitutionally regulate interstate commerce. This does not somehow give them absolute control, in perpetuity, of the objects of that commerce and how they are utilized. That would be ludicrous. Oh wait, we’re discussing Congress.

    • Don’t forget “The Enablers” who, legislating from the bench, “interpreted” the law to Constitutionally extend power over interstate commerce to include completely intrastate manufacturing

      • It goes beyond that. Look up Wickard v. Fillburn. Fillburn was an Ohio farmer who grew his own wheat to feed his own livestock. Under a price stabilization program, the federal government set a limit on how much wheat a farmer was allowed to grow. If he grew more, he was fined for the excess. The Court ruled the limitation and fine to be legal since the excess enabled the farmer to avoid buying grain. A logical extension of that ruling would be that an amateur woodworker who builds furniture for his own use should owe sales tax on its retail value. The commerce clause has become an excuse for the federal government to intrude any place it chooses.

        Something Trump could do is issue an executive order that all federal facilities follow state law on possession of firearms. This is already the case in national parks except for park buildings.

  7. First of all, I think this is a very unconstitutional law. That being said, Dean Weingarten only addressed part of the law. The changes are not just based on the fact that the firearms crossed state line, but the presence of said firearms in a “school zone” have a detrimental effect on interstate commerce. The law has been challenged, and has failed said challenges. Yes it has not made it all the way up to SCOTUS a second time, but if you look at the court decisions, you can see that the findings are NOT just based on the fact that the firearms had crossed state lines.

    United States v Nieves-Castaño (2007)
    “The school-zone prohibition is based on explicit congressional findings that firearms had increasingly been found in and around schools, that concern about these firearms could deter parents from sending their children to school, that the occurrence of violent crimes in school zones had resulted in a decline in the quality of education (an effect having an adverse impact on commerce), and that states and localities had found it very difficult to handle such gun-related crimes themselves. “

  8. And watch the great wailing and gnashing of teeth when the media picks up on this.

    Pass the popcorn for the same old, same old tired protestations of “Blood in the streets”.

  9. If you have any doubts that as to what Trump’s presidency will mean for us, look at what’s already happening–

    “You can expect to see CBP pushing back and holding those people,” said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council. “They’re going want to make it look like they’re in lockstep with [Trump] … We’re already seeing it now … Judd said the processing center at Nogales, Arizona, is set to open soon, and he added that he expects other processing centers to open, as well, in order to increase detention capacity. Career-level supervisors will be more worried about offending the incoming administration than the outgoing one, Judd said. “They have a new boss,” he said. “They know it. They need to endear themselves to him.”


    This will be the agent primary agent of change; moreso than any overt policy. It will extend to every area that he has expressed the desire for change to take place… Up to and including GFZs. Don’t underestimate the power of employees looking to ingratiate themselves to the new president as a policy driver.

  10. Gun free zones need to be ruled as violations of the 2nd Amendment, and states can advise parents groups (libby libby lib libbs) that if you are uncomfortable with firearms in schools, then tough shhhheeehhytttt. Suck it up and start teaching your kids that they NEED to be tough in this hostile world; we would create a new generation of truly free peoples, like the fulfillment of what America CAN be, but isn’t quite yet.

  11. What ?!? How about we concentrate on 1st helping our fellow Americans in states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, NJ, MD , NY, DC, CA., etc…Who are currently unable to exercise their 2nd amendment rights because they are being infringed upon daily …States where Local/ State police departments are in “ABSOLUTE CONTROL” over a US citizens/state residents 2nd Amendment “rights”! Where a US citizen can not Purchase/Posess/own/or carry any type of firearms without multiple local/state police permissions! Unlike “free-states” where most likely a lot of this readship hail from…Especially when everyone here makes a Landry list of pro2@ recommendations to the 2nd amendment coalition…Such as silencers, SBR’s, NFA firearms,etc…Some residents in my state would be happy just to receive an indifferent instant check or waitng period just to purchase a double-barrel shotgun, .22 lr carbine ,or a simple revolver without an LEO/AG. Anal probing and prostate exam!!!!

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