Mar 052006

I feel compelled to respond to Charles Everett's letter regarding the anti-gun lobby. The last paragraph of his letter erroneously states that "anytime he 'drives through a town,'" and/or past "any school," he is a "felon" if he has even an unloaded weapon in his vehicle. Mr. Everett should research his facts more carefully.

I can only assume that Mr. Everett is referring to the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990, section 922(q). This section forbids "any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that [he] knows…is a school zone," 18 U.S.C. section 922(q)(1)(A).

Firstly, the statute makes clear that a person in violation of this section must knowingly possess the firearm in a place he knows to be a school zone.

This is a high legal standard that indicates that a person must be aware that he is bringing a firearm onto or near school property. Simply driving through a town that has a school in it is inconsistent with this legal standard.

If the law were construed as Mr. Everett spuriously interprets it, it would eviscerate the Second Amendment completely, as nearly every town in this country contains some kind of school.

Secondly, in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), the Supreme Court held that this section of the Gun Free School Zones Act exceeds Congress' Commerce Clause authority, and thus is unconstitutional (i.e. inapplicable).

Therefore, Mr. Everett's statements regarding this law and its implications are entirely incorrect. I am writing this letter out of frustration with the general practice of many citizens to believe all kinds of misinterpretations and myths about the law and the legal system in general, without endeavoring to discover what the law actually says about a subject.

Please do your research, and realize that what an unsubstantiated and politicized Web site tells you is not necessarily true. (A good source is the United States Supreme Court Web site).

K. Hindman

CSU Alumnus and graduate of the University of Wyoming School of Law

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.