Appeals Court: Congress can ban homemade machine guns
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
June 30, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - An Oakland medical marijuana case
that went to the U.S. Supreme Court caused a federal appeals court
in San Francisco to rule today that Congress has the power to
regulate homemade machine guns.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal conviction
of Robert Stewart of Arizona for illegal possession of five machine
Stewart, who sold parts kits for rifles, made the guns himself.
He argued in his appeal that he wasn't subject to the federal
gun law because his homemade guns didn't enter into interstate
The gun law is based on Congress' constitutional power to regulate
The appeals court initially agreed with Stewart's argument in
an earlier ruling in 2003.
But the U.S. Supreme Court last year, after issuing a decision
in the case of Oakland medical marijuana patient Angel Raich,
ordered the 9th Circuit to reconsider Stewart's appeal in light
of the high court's ruling.
In the Raich case, the high court said that Congress has the
power to ban medical marijuana use even if the plant is grown
locally and its use is allowed under state law.
The Supreme Court said last year that homegrown marijuana could
still have a substantial impact on interstate commerce.
In today's ruling, 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski said homemade
machine guns were similar to homegrown marijuana for purposes
Kozinski wrote, "The market for machine guns is established
and lucrative, like the market for marijuana."
The court said homemade guns "can enter the interstate market
and affect supply and demand."
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