514 U.S. 549, 115 S.CT. 1624 (1995)
Alfonso Lopez Jr., a twelfth –grade student, was arrested for carrying a handgun in a Texas high school. The Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990 made it a federal crime to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Lopez was charged and found guilty in federal district court for violating the Gun-Free School Zone Act. Lopez appealed, stating that the act was unconstitutional on the grounds that Congress was exceeding its power under the Commerce Clause in enacting the legislation. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and reversed his conviction on the grounds that the law was outside the bounds of the commerce power. The federal government appealed that decision, bringing the case to the Supreme Court.
Does the Gun-Free School Zone Act exceed Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause?
Does the commerce power of Congress apply to activities that have no connection to interstate commerce?
Yes. The Gun-Free School Zone Act exceeded Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.
No. The activity being regulated must substantially affect interstate commerce.
The interstate commerce clause is an enumerated power, it is specifically mentioned in the Constituion. After the 1937 case, The Supreme Court held that Congress has the "power to regulate manufacturing activities that have a significant effect on interstate commerce, including activities that burden interstate commerce or its free flow." Justice Rehnquist stated, there are three broad categories of activity Congress may regulate under the Commerce Clause. First are the channels of interstate commerce. Second are the instrumentalities of interstate commerce. And third are the activities having a substantial effect upon interstate commerce. In this particular case, only the third category applies. In order for the statute to be deemed valid, the activity must substantially affect interstate commerce. The…