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View Full Version : Does the handgun roster list square with US law regarding interstate commerce?


thatsteveguy
07-15-2012, 6:03 PM
I have a question regarding the handgun roster that was inspired by this article questioning an inclusion for CA eggs in the US farm bill: http://hotair.com/archives/2012/07/15/a-midnight-egg-amendment-creates-a-constitutional-quandary/ Is California's handgun roster legal under the US interstate commerce clause standing?

Librarian
07-15-2012, 6:43 PM
Probably.

The Roster is a limitation on California-licensed FFLs, regulating what they can sell to whom.

Doesn't restrict what people can sell to each other, except when it comes to individuals who are out of state; then, Federal law generally requires using an FFL in the state of residence of the person receiving the gun.

ClarenceBoddicker
07-15-2012, 6:52 PM
Interstate commerce in regards to firearms was nullified in 1927.

fiddletown
07-16-2012, 8:51 AM
...Is California's handgun roster legal under the US interstate commerce clause standing?Short answer is, "Until a court say it isn't."

But really that might be an interesting argument. It does burden interstate commerce. But the question is whether someone has the time, money an inclination to take challenge the roster in court on those grounds.

senorpeligro
07-16-2012, 9:01 AM
Short answer is, "Until a court say it isn't."

But really that might be an interesting argument. It does burden interstate commerce. But the question is whether someone has the time, money an inclination to take challenge the roster in court on those grounds.

Couldn't this argument also be applied to limitations placed upon a 03 FFL holder in California? Specifically that C&R handguns cannot be transferred to a 03 FFL from out of state.

Edit: or also the restrictions on receiving a C&R long gun less than 50 years old.

IVC
07-16-2012, 9:17 AM
The Roster is a limitation on California-licensed FFLs, regulating what they can sell to whom.

Doesn't restrict what people can sell to each other...

Interesting comment - so the "PPT loophole" might actually be required in order to avoid falling under the Commerce Clause. It makes it that much more difficult to ban it.

curtisfong
07-16-2012, 9:41 AM
So if cops are prevented from using the "PPT loophole", is that not a violation of the Commerce Clause?

thatsteveguy
07-16-2012, 10:04 AM
Probably.

The Roster is a limitation on California-licensed FFLs, regulating what they can sell to whom.

Using a different example; if CA were to do the same roster with cars and dealers could not sell an older car that wasn't on the roster or a newly manufactured car that wasn't on the roster; wouldn't that restrict the dealers ablity to purchase a car sold by another state if he knew he couldn't sell it to a CA citizen? Wouldn't that impinge and infringe on his ability to do business freely across state lines? Aren't these car dealers US citizens and protected by free interstate commerce laws like every other states citizens?
Bear with me, I can see where a state can restrict intra-state commerce but I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the thought that a state can restrict inter-state commerce.

littlejake
07-16-2012, 10:32 AM
A per the original intent of the 10th Amendment, the Roster violates it.

CA has already trampled on the 10th in regard to cars. CA has their own emissions test procedures --- and some model combinations (this engine with this transmission) have not been certified for new sale in CA since 1975. A person could move here with one (sound familiar?) CA was sued and prevailed. CA would not permit the sale of certain Diesel cars until Diesel sulfur levels were mandated to be orders of magnitude lower.

cruising7388
07-16-2012, 11:14 AM
Using a different example; if CA were to do the same roster with cars and dealers could not sell an older car that wasn't on the roster or a newly manufactured car that wasn't on the roster; wouldn't that restrict the dealers ablity to purchase a car sold by another state if he knew he couldn't sell it to a CA citizen? Wouldn't that impinge and infringe on his ability to do business freely across state lines? Aren't these car dealers US citizens and protected by free interstate commerce laws like every other states citizens?
Bear with me, I can see where a state can restrict intra-state commerce but I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the thought that a state can restrict inter-state commerce.

It is truly a nutty state of affairs. States can restrict intra-state commerce (unless a court determines that the prohibition violates the Full Faith & Credit clause of the Constitution). But as a practical matter, so can the Federal Government (i.e. the Supreme Court) restrict intra-state commerce simply by re-defining it to make it consistent with the conclusion they wish to reach. This produced the hilarious SCOTUS, decision that illegal pot grown and sold solely for intra-state use was nevertheless subject to inter-state commerce regulation because, well, gee, it could affect how much illegal pot might be grown in other states.

The CA DOJ firearm import restiction is one of a myriad of commodities that have California import restrictions. For example, California Agriculture restricts the import of most produce and plants grown in Hawaii. For decades, any vehicle sold in California had to have a different set of smog controls than what was approved in the other 49 states. I recall when ordering some termite control products on line, the website indicated that they could not ship the product to certain states. Any generator shipped to California has to comply with CARB requirements and unless the OEM wants to underwrite the cost of building two separate sub-models for each model they make, as a practical economic matter it serves as a de facto inport prohibition.

Librarian
07-16-2012, 11:19 AM
Using a different example; if CA were to do the same roster with cars and dealers could not sell an older car that wasn't on the roster or a newly manufactured car that wasn't on the roster; wouldn't that restrict the dealers ablity to purchase a car sold by another state if he knew he couldn't sell it to a CA citizen? Wouldn't that impinge and infringe on his ability to do business freely across state lines? Aren't these car dealers US citizens and protected by free interstate commerce laws like every other states citizens?
Bear with me, I can see where a state can restrict intra-state commerce but I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the thought that a state can restrict inter-state commerce.

Doing a devil's advocate thing (sorry, advocatus!) the state would argue it's within their rights to govern the actions of their licensees.

If such a law had the same exceptions as the Roster:
* private citizens may freely drive them in and out of the state;
* private citizens may move here and keep them;
* private citizens may sell them to one another

the state would further argue 'what interstate commerce problem?'

In the case of guns, the state has Federal law to prevent CA private citizens from going out of state and buying off-Roster handguns (since interstate handgun sales must go through an FFL in the state of residence of the buyer).

fiddletown
07-16-2012, 11:26 AM
...the state would further argue 'what interstate commerce problem?'...It arguably involves interstate commerce because, among other things, California dealers buy from sources outside of California the guns they retail in California.

The key is that the federal courts have struck down state regulations that impose an "undue burden" on interstate commerce. So it becomes a question of whether the particular burden is "undue." And part of the answer to that question involves a consideration of the state interest served by the regulation balanced against the extent of the burden.

curtisfong
07-16-2012, 11:41 AM
And part of the answer to that question involves a consideration of the state interest served by the regulation balanced against the extent of the burden.

The problem is, the state courts will never address that question in a fair, objective manner; they'll try their hardest to justify their decision (no matter how horrible) with whatever contorted legalese they think they can get away with.

fiddletown
07-16-2012, 1:46 PM
The problem is, the state courts will never address that question in a fair, objective manner....You wouldn't bring the suit in state court. That still doesn't mean the federal court would find the Roster to be an undue burden.

Flopper
07-16-2012, 1:48 PM
If non-involvement in interstate commerce is involvement in interstate commerce, OF COURSE it violates the Commerce Clause.

IVC
07-16-2012, 2:06 PM
The problem is, the state courts will never address that question in a fair, objective manner; they'll try their hardest to justify their decision (no matter how horrible) with whatever contorted legalese they think they can get away with.

In some ways that's how it's supposed to be. The legislators, in theory, represent "we the people". What they pass as a law is technically what we passed as a law.

It just happens that the 2A is what people in CA don't want, but also happens to be protected by the Constitution, so we have this strange setup where the legislators are considered to be "them" and to work against "us." In states like Montana, it's a good thing that the legislators and the people get their way.