View Full Version : Ninth Circuit: Congress Can Ban Homemade Machineguns (Stewart Reversed)

07-03-2006, 05:26 PM

Congress can outlaw the possession of homemade machine guns under its power to regulate interstate commerce, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday.

The court affirmed Robert Stewart’s conviction on one count of felony possession of firearms and five counts of unlawful possession of a machinegun, which was based on evidence that Stewart sold kits which could be assembled into .50-caliber machine guns.

In addition to assembling the parts, one of the parts had to be “machined” in order to produce a working firearm, according to testimony.

Stewart advertised the kits on the Internet and in the national magazine “Shotgun News.”

A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent purchased one of Stewart’s kits and found that it could be readily converted into an illegal firearm. Agents searched Stewart’s home, where they found numerous rifle kits and 31 firearms, including five machineguns which Stewart had machined and assembled.


He was not charged with respect to his advertising or selling the kits.

Stewart appealed his conviction on the grounds that the law making it illegal to “transfer or possess a machinegun” was not a valid exercise of Congress’s power to regulate commerce, and violated his Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.

In a previous opinion in the same case, the Ninth Circuit panel agreed with Stewart, holding that possession of a homemade machinegun was not inherently commercial in nature, and that the effect of Stewart’s possessing such guns on interstate commerce was attenuated.

The U.S. Supreme Court then decided the case of Gonzales v. Raich, 125 S. Ct. 2195 (2005) in which it held that Congress’ commerce power extended far enough to allow it to prohibit California residents from growing and using their own marijuana for medicinal purposes pursuant to doctor’s recommendation in compliance with California law.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court then granted certiorari in Stewart, vacated the Ninth Circuit’s original decision, and remanded the case back for reconsideration in light of Raich.

Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the Ninth Circuit on remand, said, “Raich stands for the proposition that Congress can ban possession of an object where it has a rational basis for concluding that object might bleed into the interstate market and affect supply and demand, especially in an area where Congress regulates comprehensively.”

On remand, the defense argued that Raich did not apply because the guns were unique and only parts of them entered into interstate commerce.

Kozinski responded:

“After Raich, the proper focus . . . is not Stewart and his unique homemade machineguns, but all homemade machineguns manufactured intrastate. Moreover, we do not require the government to prove that those activities actually affected interstate commerce; we merely inquire whether Congress had a rational basis for so concluding.

“Homemade guns, even those with a unique design, can enter the interstate market and affect supply and demand. We therefore hold that Congress had a rational basis for concluding that in the aggregate, possession of homemade machineguns could substantially affect interstate commerce in machineguns.”

The court held that Raich did not affect its previous opinion that precedent clearly showed that Stewart’s Second Amendment rights had not been violated.

Senor Judge Thomas G. Nelson and Chief Judge Jane A. Restani of the Court of International Trade, sitting by designation, joined in the opinion.

The case is United States v. Stewart, 02-10318.

07-03-2006, 05:34 PM
That guy was dumb with a capital D.

07-03-2006, 08:21 PM
But he had the RIGHT to be stupid and make his guns. The congress has streched the commerce clause in more ways than the Big Bang streched the universe

07-04-2006, 09:20 AM
haha, thats it

07-04-2006, 11:43 AM
But he had the RIGHT to be stupid and make his guns. The congress has streched the commerce clause in more ways than the Big Bang streched the universe


If something does not cross state lines, its MY STATES RIGHT to regulate it.

07-04-2006, 11:49 AM

If something does not cross state lines, its MY STATES RIGHT to regulate it.
That may be, but anyone who is dumb enough to make unregistered machineguns and parts to convert semi-auto weapons to full auto and advertise his conversion parts in a national publication gets what they were looking for.

07-04-2006, 02:10 PM

Medula Oblongata
07-04-2006, 07:25 PM
Congress has used the Interstate Commerce Clause to make it illegal for commercial farmers to produce food for themselves that is not first brokered and sold wither thru their co-op or merchantile. In the 1930's more than 3200 farmers were jailed for periods exceeding 10 years for keeping wheat, that they farmed commercially, for their own personal consumption. Apparently Congress believes that the people who produced the grain that was made into bread that the congress gave as handouts to those who were unemployed as a direct result of failed governmental policies, should themselves go hungry and stand in line to eat...

Talk about congress stretching the boundries... Oh yeah, the US Supreme court upheld all of the convictions stating that the farmers being able to eat unfairly created an unacceptable market condition where some had and others had not. Need we mention that not ONE member of congress, the Judicial Branch, or the Executive Branch stood in any line to get bread and soup as their meals were furnished FREE OF CHARGE and quite often consisted of imported Foie Gras and other delicasies.

People have also been imprisoned for using UPS and FedEx for sending letters (every major corporation in the US pays fines every year to avoid jail) as congress has stated that only the USPS may carry letters and documents, citing their authority under the ICC to regulate such traffic.

Lobster fisherman can be arrested for eating their catch unless they first sell it and then purchase one from a retail establishment.

Children in Omaha have been citied for having lemonade stands as the local FBI cites the Interstate commerce clause...

I for one just watered my wheat, ate a lobster I caught, mailed a letter to my auntie by FedEx, and am enjoying a glass of lemonade I bought from some kids stand... By all rights I should be on the FBI's 10 most wanted list...