As 21st Century Americans, we’re used to Congress and the White House having a very expansive view of what falls within their purview as government officials, a view that the Founding Fathers would have likely found gross and unconstitutional. William J. Watkins does a commendable job asking, then attempting to answer, a very valid question:
Across the country, Americans are debating the effectiveness of Obama’s gun-control proposals. Commentators on the left argue that automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines aren’t necessary for home defense or hunting. On the right, the president’s critics say limiting guns won’t end violence and point out that no matter what laws Congress passes, criminals will still find ways to be well armed. The proposed legislation, they contend, simply would put law-abiding citizens at a disadvantage.
Both sides are missing the larger question in this debate: Does Congress even have the right to regulate or ban guns? Where does Congress derive the power to prohibit ownership or manufacture of certain weapons or magazines?
The article is a very worthwhile for pointing out that the Commerce Clause is the “fatal funnel” of Congressional power; most of the legislative overreach achieved in this nation was achieved via an abuse of the Commerce Clause, and finding ways to successfully attack low-handing examples of this abuse in federal courts (and eventually the Supreme Court) will knock the legs out from under Congress for generations, and greatly restrain the power and size of government.
It’s getting that first “win” in SCOTUS that is going to be the hard part, and at this point it doesn’t appear anyone is even mounting a serious challenge along those lines.