Sonzinsky v. United States 300 U.S. 506 (1937)
SONZINSKY v. UNITED STATES 300 U.S. 506 (1937)
The unanimous opinion in this case indicated that the spirit animating the decision in bailey v. drexel furniture co. (1922) was dead: the Supreme Court would no longer inquire into Congress's motives in enacting a tax measure. The National Firearms Act of 1934 imposed an annual excise tax on manufacturers and dealers of fire-arms, excepting handguns. The Court refused to consider that the tax was not imposed to raise a revenue and was a penalty to suppress traffic in a commodity normally subject only to state regulation. Compulsory registration provisions of such statutes, however, were later held unconstitutional in marchetti v. united states (1968).
Leonard W. Levy