Scholarship Highlight: Recent Student Notes of Note

  • Date:
  • September 9th, 2020

By: Jacob Charles

A recent smattering of student notes on issues related to firearms law and the Second Amendment have been published in the last week. Check out the abstracts below!

  • Jessica A. Lowe, Analyzing the Void-for-Vagueness Doctrine As Applied to Statutory Defenses: Lessons from Iowa’s Stand-Your-Ground Law, 105 Iowa L. Rev. 2359 (2020)

From the Abstract:

In State v. Wilson, an Iowa district court found that a provision in Iowa's recently enacted stand-your-ground law, Iowa Code section 704.13, was unconstitutionally vague. This decision constituted an unusual application of the void-for-vagueness doctrine because courts seldom consider vagueness challenges to statutory defenses and rarely, if ever, strike them down under such challenges. On appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court did not explicitly address the district court's unusual holding that Iowa Code section 704.13 was void for vagueness. As a result, Wilson raises the following question: Is the void-for-vagueness doctrine an appropriate remedy for ambiguous statutory defenses? To answer this question, this Note examines traditional rationales underlying the void-for-vagueness doctrine. It also explores the potential expansion of the void-for-vagueness doctrine in the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions. Ultimately, this Note concludes that the void-for-vagueness doctrine is not an appropriate remedy for ambiguous statutory defenses.

  • T.M. Clint Harris, One Gun Too Many: Double-Counting the Same Offense in Iowa, 105 Iowa L. Rev. 2329 (2020)

From the Abstract:

The average Iowan would be shocked to learn that the commission of a firearm possession crime in Iowa would expose them to the risk of being sent to federal prison for a time period 25 percent longer than that of a citizen of a neighboring state. This Note argues that the Eighth Circuit's ruling in United States v. Walker was an erroneous interpretation of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and that governmental action should be taken in one of three major arenas--judicial, administrative, or legislative--to remedy the resulting sentencing disparities. Ultimately, this would be one step towards returning fairness and justice to similarly situated defendants in the federal criminal system.

  • Skylar Petitt, Tyranny Prevention: A “Core” Purpose of the Second Amendment, 44 S. Ill. U. L.J. 455 (2020)

From the Abstract:

This Note argues that “tyranny prevention” is a core purpose of the Second Amendment which therefore necessitates protection for some quantum of military-style weaponry. It does so by examining the Second Amendment through the lens of the most commonly accepted modes of constitutional interpretation. This analysis is especially relevant today as courts struggle to decide what kinds of weapons are protected by the Second Amendment--and why. Although courts are understandably reluctant to engage with the topic of tyranny prevention and military weaponry, courts will not be able to properly define the scope of the right without engaging in a serious examination of the right's core purposes. This Note seeks to do just that.