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Authors

Michelle Schuld

Abstract

Part II of this Note will examine the background of this issue by exploring the history and purpose of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the circuit split arising over the interpretation of the words “any court” under § 922(g)(1). Part III will focus on Small v. United States in detail, including the underlying facts, procedural history, and majority and dissenting opinions. Part IV will analyze this decision and argue that the majority misused canons of statutory interpretation to reach an interpretation that is contrary to the plain meaning of the statute. The section will also discuss the majority’s “assumption about the reach of domestically oriented statutes” and explore the implications of this opinion on future legislation and cases. Part V concludes that this case is part of a larger problem of courts relying too heavily on outside sources when interpreting a statute, which causes them to stray too far from the text of the statute. It also concludes that to prevent continued misinterpretations of statutes a more consistent approach to statutory interpretation is needed with a stronger adherence to the plain meaning of the statute, less reliance on outside sources, and a disciplined application of canons of construction.

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