United States v. Henry

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 08-09-2012
  • Case #: 11-30181
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge M. Smith for the Court, Circuit Judges Fletcher and Goodwin
  • Full Text Opinion

Second Amendment rights do not extend to machine guns and Congress has the power to regulate possession and modification of “dangerous and unusual” weapons.

Defendant was convicted of possession of a machine gun under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(o)(1) and 924(a)(2) by modifying an assault rifle. On appeal, defendant argued that (1) the statute violates his Second Amendment rights and (2) the Commerce Clause does not allow Congress to prohibit possession of a homemade machine gun. The Ninth Circuit first held that Second Amendment rights do not extend to “dangerous and unusual” weapons as described in Heller. Second, the Court held that under Gonzalez v. Raich, Congress’s Commerce power extends to activities of individuals if they have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The Court rejected the defense argument that Heller overrules the Stewart holding that the Commerce power extends to regulation of automatic weapons. AFFIRMED.

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