Why The US Supreme Court Struck Down The Original Gun-Free Schools Law

Sandy Hook Elementary
Police lead children away from Sandy Hook Elementary

[credit provider=”AP Photo/Newton Bee/Shannon Hicks” url=”http://www.apimages.com/OneUp.aspx?st=k&kw=%22sandy%20hook%20elementary%22&showact=results&sort=relevance&intv=None&sh=10&kwstyle=and&adte=1355507314&pagez=60&cfasstyle=AND&rids=82144f51e05148179bc3c19f2f0e75f7&dbm=PThirtyDay&page=1&xslt=1&mediatype=Photo”]

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre on Friday called on the U.S. to put cops in every school, and suggested killers were drawn to schools because they’re “gun-free zones.”In fact, gun rights advocates fought the Gun Free Schools Act of 1990 – which barred firearms within 1,000 feet of school – and they won their battle in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1995.

That year, the high court ruled the law exceeded Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which allows the U.S. government to regulate so-called interstate commerce.

Then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for the majority and said guns had nothing to do with traditional “commerce,” The New York Times reported at the time. He rejected the argument that guns in schools affected the economy by making children less productive future workers, according to the Times.

The high court’s ruling overturned the conviction of Alfonso Lopez, a high school senior who brought a handgun and bullets to his Texas high school, according to PBS.

In response to the high court’s ruling, Congress reintroduced the bill, arguably burying it in a larger piece of legislation. 

The new version of the law, which passed as part of that bill, says it’s illegal for individuals to put firearms that “affected interstate commerce” in a school zone.

If the Commerce Clause sounds familiar, that’s because the U.S. government contended it allowed it to mandate that most individuals buy health insurance under Obamacare.

Of course, Justice Roberts rejected that argument and upheld the mandate as essentially a tax.

SEE ALSO: The NRA Has A Major ‘Competitor’ That Won Huge Fights Against Gun Control >