Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, and Guns: The Synergistic Constitutional Effects
David B. Kopel
Independence Institute; Denver University - Sturm College of Law
March 12, 2013
Albany Government Law Review, Forthcoming
In this Article we discuss the synergistic relationship between the “wars” on guns, alcohol, sex, and gambling and how that relationship has helped illegitimately increase the power of the federal government over the past century. The Constitution never granted Congress the general “police power” to legislate on health, safety, welfare, and morals; the police power was reserved to the States. Yet over the last century, federal laws against guns, alcohol, gambling, and some types of sex, have encroached on the police powers traditionally reserved to the states. Congress’s infringement of the States’ powers over the “health, safety, welfare, and morals” of their citizens occurred slowly, with only intermittent resistance from the courts. In no small part due to this synergistic relationship, today we have a federal government that has become unmoored from its constitutional boundaries and legislates recklessly over the health, safety, welfare, and morals of American citizens.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: constitutional law, guns, police power, taxing clause, interstate commerce clause, civil asset forfeiture, drug warAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 13, 2013 ; Last revised: June 13, 2013
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