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Constitutional Law

Exam 5

30 minutes

Fact Pattern

Responding to increasing gun violence, the U.S. Congress enacts a statute, the Firearms Purchase Control Act (the Act) mandating a background check for each prospective firearm purchaser. The legislative record for the Act states, among other things, the following: “Background checks for firearm purchasers are necessary to ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands. Recent incidents of gun violence have been primarily attributable to the purchase of firearms without thorough background checks.”  The legislative record further finds that gun violence, resulting from the omission of background checks, costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year in social and economic harm. These costs, the findings conclude, ripple through the national economy and substantially affect interstate commerce. According to the legislative record, federal action is required because states have failed to impose uniform requirements for background checks. As a result, some prospective gun purchasers use the interstate highways or airports to travel to states with comparatively lax requirements for firearm purchases.

The Act states the following: “All prospective firearm purchasers must undergo a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”  The term “firearm,” for purposes of the Act, is defined as “any weapon located anywhere within the United States that is capable of expelling a projectile by explosive force.”


  1. Is the Act constitutional? Explain, without discussing the Second Amendment.

Question 1

Is the Act constitutional? Explain, without discussing the Second Amendment.