High Court Lets Stand Machine Gun Ban

THE Supreme Court has let stand a 1986 law that banned private ownership of fully automatic, new machine guns. The high court action Jan. 14 was a major victory for the Bush administration, police groups, and gun control advocates, all of whom urged that the ban be left intact.

The justices denied, without any comment, a constitutional challenge to a law that was adopted by Congress in an effort to stem drug-related violence and the unprecedented wave of murders sweeping the nation. The law allows possession of the 125,000 machine guns made before 1986.

In other action Jan. 14, the court:

Agreed to decide if local jurisdictions have the right to curb the use of chemical pesticides in a more restrictive manner than required by federal law. The case began with a Casey, Wis., ordinance in 1983 requiring a local permit for residents planning to use pesticides.

Agreed to decide if a state can bar political parties from endorsing candidates for nonpartisan offices.

Let stand the conviction of eight members of the sanctuary movement in New Mexico and Arizona. They claimed US agents violated their religious rights by infiltrating church services without a warrant to uncover evidence that they harbored illegal aliens from Central America.

Agreed to decide whether Congress unconstitutionally delegated its legislative power by letting the attorney general classify drugs as legal or illegal, even on a temporary basis.

Agreed to decide the legality of the 1987 pact that transferred control of the two major airports serving the nation's capital from federal to regional authority.

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