First Circuit upholds federal ban on juvenile handgun possession

The decision is here, and includes extensive analysis of 19th and early 20th century state laws (and court decisions upholding them under state constitution RKBA provisions) against juvenile handgun possession, or sale of handguns to juveniles. The decision also rejects a challenge that the federal ban on simple possession in one’s own home exceeds congressional authority under the power to regulate interstate commerce. In Taking Federalism Seriously: Lopez and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, 30 Connecticut Law Review 59 (1997), Glenn H. Reynolds and I argued that the interstate commerce power should not be used to regulate intrastate activity, especially activity involving controversial social issues like firearms or abortion. In a 1999 Issue Paper for the Independence Institute, I wrote a brief section (Part VII) which presents some policy arguments against the federal aw. As you’ll see by reading the First Circuit case, there are good reason why the juvenile delinquent should not have owned a gun. But I that there is a less restrictive alternative than the federal approach.

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