Duke Center for Firearms Law
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Center Leadership Publishing New Casebook: Firearms Law and the Second Amendment

By on January 27, 2022 Categories: ,

We are very excited to announce that Center leadership will be co-authoring a new law school casebook on the Second Amendment and firearms law (title TBD). The book will be published by Foundation Press and available (assuming all goes according to plan) in spring 2023.

Fourteen years ago, the Supreme Court’s groundbreaking decision in District of Columbia v. Heller held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an individual right not limited to militia service. Heller launched a new era of constitutional doctrine, as judges, litigants, and scholars work to evaluate the constitutionality of modern gun laws at a time when the gun debate is as heated as it has ever been. With more than 1,500 cases decided in the lower courts since Heller, the law has begun to take shape both substantively and methodologically. At the same time, interest in firearms law as a scholarly discipline has spread significantly throughout the academy (as evidenced by the growing number of articles on the subject) and among law students drawn from a generation that ranks gun rights and regulation as among the most important issues confronting the nation. The Supreme Court’s recent reentry into the field with New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen will only accelerate the already growing student demand and contribute to the development of firearms law as a topic of broad scholarly, public, and jurisprudential significance.

Our casebook will be broken down into three main parts exploring major issues in firearms law and theory. Part one—“Heller and History”—explores the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and the history of the arms right in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Part two—“The Emerging Doctrinal Framework”—is the most substantial portion of the book. It covers the main areas of Second Amendment law, including the methodological framework that courts use to assess questions about who can invoke the right’s protection, where the right extends, and what weapons it covers. Finally, Part three—“Guns in Society”—contains chapters that address the relationship between guns and other rights and interests. This includes empirical debates over firearms ownership, crime, and defensive gun use; gender and racial issues with respect to gun ownership, use, and misuse; civil liability for gun harms and related regulatory developments; and other conflicts that arise when guns enter the public arena.