This article suggests that in the wake of last year’s school shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Congress may justifiably exercise its commerce power to regulate arms in schools, notwithstanding its contrary holding in Lopez v. U.S in 1995. Sadly, with Columbine, the scope of violence in schools has assumed vastly more serious dimensions – to the point where such acts may accurately be labeled as premeditated acts of domestic terrorism.
Under such circumstances, Congress may reasonably enact laws designed to curb the interstate market for weapons used in these attacks. If Congress concludes, for example, that imposing onerous federal penalties for carrying in schools such weapons – the component parts and raw materials of which traveled in interstate commerce - would convince a person who was otherwise considering purchasing the weapons not to consummate the transaction, the demand side of the market in diminished. As the Lopez Court itself notes, “We do not doubt that Congress has authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate numerous commercial activities that substantially affect interstate commerce and also affect the educational process.”
Michael A. Lawrence, A New Case for Direct Congressional Regulation of Guns in School Zones, 77 Denv. U. L. Rev. 769 (2000).