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Guns and Commerce

OI:

Try as you might to find the title, “Federal Firearms Act” associated with 18 USC, chapter 44, you will not. Why then do we refer to it as such here? Many of the provisions that are currently codified to Title 18, chapter 44, were not originally codified there.

The Federal Firearms Act was enacted in 1938 and it was originally codified to Title 15. So what is Title 15? It is entitled “Commerce and Trade”. Do you remember that little discussion about creating vagueness where none originally existed? Well here is a stunning example. From 1938 until 1968, the Federal Firearms Act was within Title 15. That’s 30 years folks! Despite the law operating just fine for 30 years, someone deemed it no longer proper to have the law contained within Title 15. Want to guess why? That’s right – the government’s jurisdictional limits were far too easy to ascertain when the law was within the “Commerce and Trade” title. If it wasn’t moving in interstate or foreign commerce, then the US didn’t have jurisdiction over it! However, by moving the Act to Title 18, and thus disconnecting the Act from the Title of “Commerce and Trade”, there are few clues left to the law’s original intent and its Constitutional limitations.

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