United States v Lopez

United States v. Alfonso D. Lopez (1995), was a landmark case of the United States Supreme Court concerning the Commerce Clause. It was the first case since 1937 in which the Court held that Congress had exceeded its power to legislate under the Commerce Clause.

The case arose from a San Antonio high school student's challenge to the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 (part of the Crime Control Act of 1990), which banned possession of handguns within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of a school. In a majority decision joined by four other justices, Chief Justice William Rehnquist held that Lopez' possession of the gun was not economic activity and its scope was not sufficiently cabined, and so was outside the broad reach of the Commerce Clause. After the Lopez decision, the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 was amended to specifically only apply to guns that had been moved via interstate or foreign commerce.