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PSC 104A University of California San Diego Hypothetical Fact Pattern Paper

PSC 104A University of California San Diego Hypothetical Fact Pattern Paper

Question Description

Hello Everyone, I have a question for law class. I will post the question here, the answer needs to be from 8-9 sentences.

I will post some attachments here that can help you answer the question.




Overall Background: You are a staff attorney working for Senator Regina Regulator, who has long been concerned about the dangers posed by “assault weapons” (one definition of which is “a semi-automatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds”). Lately, Senator Regulator has become alarmed by media reports about a growing practice among gun enthusiasts who are also do-it-yourselfers — making functioning assault weapons from spare gun parts in their home workshops. Possession of such homemade assault weapons is not currently prohibited by federal gun-control laws.

Senator Regulator sends you a memo outlining two possible ideas for federal laws to respond to this growing threat. She asks for your advice about whether either of these Proposals would stand up to a court challenge if adopted.

Proposal 1 would amend the Gun Control Act of 1968 (“GCA”). In the GCA Congress enacted what one court called “a detailed and comprehensive statutory regime designed to protect individual firearm ownership while supporting federal, state, and local law-enforcement officials in their fight against crime and violence.” Generally, the GCA divides firearms into different types and adopts various limitations on their sale, purchase, or transfer. Given the heightened lethal potential of assault weapons, the Act imposes more severe penalties on their sale, distribution or purchase.

Proposal 1 would add a legal prohibition on “constructing or possessing” a homemade assault weapon. Senator Regulator writes, “Let’s assume that, if we get to the ‘substantial effect’ test, we can justify the ban on construction or possession. But, I’d like you to address a threshold question: Is the ‘substantial effect’ test even available to defend Proposal 1? Specifically, I’m concerned that, because merely making or possessing such a weapon does not involve selling or exchanging it for economic consideration, a court might conclude that Proposal 1 exceeds Congress’ constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.”

Proposal 2 would respond to news reports that current members of the U.S. military make up a large segment of homemade-assault-weapon makers. Senator Regulator finds it “especially dangerous” that persons the U.S. government has trained to be effective killers would engage in this practice. (Plus, she thinks it “looks bad” for the military’s image and thus could erode public support.)

Relying on its power in Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 14 to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces,” Congress would through Proposal 2 provide for the immediate removal from further service for any current military member found to have constructed, or to be in possession of, a homemade assault weapon. Among other concerns about the Proposal’s legality, Senator Regulator is worried that service members could argue that what they do in their workshops in their “spare time” outside of official duties is not a concern falling within the Rules and Regulation power Congress is relying on.

As a Common Question for both Proposals, Senator Regulator’s memo ends as follows: “I suppose any law restricting gun rights is subject to a challenge that it violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment protection for the right ‘to keep and bear Arms.’ Don’t analyze this in detail, but do let me know in a sentence how the Second Amendment argument might figure in a court’s assessment of whether either Proposal is lawful.”

The Question Prompt: CHOOSE Proposal 1 OR Proposal 2. Then

–BRIEFLY STATE the relevant legal criteria by which a court would analyze whether it is within Congress’ constitutional authority


–BRIEFLY EXPLAIN how a court applying the relevant legal criteria would likely rule on the Proposal’s constitutionality


–BRIEFLY DRAW A COMPARISON to ONE CASE we studied in the course.

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