Gunning for the truth

Your editorial (20 November) refers to the Supreme Court ruling in 1995 "that it was unconstitutional to forbid pupils from carrying handguns in school". This is wrong. The ruling in United States v Lopez (1995) was that the federal government did not have the constitutional power under Article 1, Section 8, the so-called "interstate" Commerce Clause, to regulate guns in schools. Therefore, the Gun-Free Schools Zone Act (1992) was overturned as unconstitutional.

One aspect of the ruling was that the judges believed that federal regulation of guns in schools was unnecessary because so many states already had equivalent legislation on their statute books. The Supreme Court is not against the regulation of guns in schools any more than it is against the regulation of guns anywhere else. It is, however, fairly consistently against the unjustified intervention and encroachment of federal power at the expense of the states.

Christopher Bates
Kimbolton School, Huntingdon, Cambs

This article first appeared in the 27 November 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The rise of stealthy wealth