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About Dru Stevenson

Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law Houston. See profile: https://www.stcl.edu/about-us/faculty/dru-stevenson/

Written by Dru Stevenson

Assault Weapon Bans, Grandfathered Guns, and Market Prices

Posted by on August 12, 2022

On July 29, the House of Representatives passed the Assault Weapon Ban of 2022 (HR 1808). The bill would prohibit the sale, import, or possession of new “assault weapons” and large capacity magazines, as defined in the bill.  The definition section includes not only features or components that bring a weapon under the ban, but […]

Synthesizing Bruen, Heller, and NFIB v. OSHA: The Relevance of the Original Version of the Second Amendment

Posted by on July 27, 2022

Should the original version of the Second Amendment matter, if it was not the version sent to the states for ratification? The original draft of the Amendment that the House debated and voted to adopt included a clause, omitted from the later Senate version, protecting the rights of those “religiously scrupulous” of bearing arms.  In […]

The Original Version of the Second Amendment: Religiously Scrupulous of Bearing Arms

Posted by on July 19, 2022

[This is a guest post based on a paper that was presented at the Center’s 2022 Firearms Law Works-In-Progress Workshop.] In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court relied heavily on (hotly contested) historical evidence about the original meaning of the Second Amendment.  In NYSRPA v. Bruen, the Court doubled down on this approach, […]

Second Amendment Protections and the Court’s Marginal Deterrence Analysis

Posted by on June 17, 2022

A few weeks ago, Jake Charles raised an important point here when he compared the recent Eleventh Circuit decision in United States v. Jimenez-Shilon with Justice Thomas’ opinion, released the same day in Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez: in contrast to the Eleventh Circuit’s purist text-and-history approach to the Second Amendment, which precludes the invocation of […]

Von Lossberg v. State: State Liability for Gun Suicides & the Background Check System

Posted by on June 8, 2022

The Idaho Supreme Court recently held that the state could be held liable in a wrongful death action for negligently failing to add a name to the database used in gun purchase background checks.  In Von Lossberg v. State, the parents of a young man who committed suicide with a gun sued the state, the […]

Do Mass Shootings Benefit Gun Companies?

Posted by on June 3, 2022

Do gun companies benefit in the wake of mass shootings, such as the one last week in Uvalde, TX?  The answer is a qualified “yes” – but it is a little more complicated than it might seem at first. Answering the question of a company (or industry as a whole) “benefitting” depends on several factors, […]

Eleventh Circuit Upholds Federal Firearm Prohibitions For Aliens Unlawfully Present

Posted by on May 27, 2022

On May 23, in United States v. Jimenez-Shilon, the 11th Circuit rejected a Second Amendment challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(A), which prohibits firearm use or possession by any “alien” who is “illegally or unlawfully in the United States.”  The holding itself is in some ways unremarkable – it joins every other federal circuit court […]

Guns and Banks: New Laws & Policies

Posted by on April 7, 2022

When gun manufacturers or dealers face civil liability for misuse of firearms, the liability costs eventually shift to investors (shareholders or owners), liability insurers, commercial lenders, or creditors (the debts they own now carry more risk), and indirectly to future customers, who may face price increases. Financial institutions (which I will call “banks,” though this […]

Range v. Lombardo: Is the Third Circuit’s Approach to As-Applied Challenges Too Messy?

Posted by on October 8, 2021

In the recent case Range v. Lombardo, a federal district court in Pennsylvania rejected an as-applied Second Amendment challenge to the federal felon-in-possession statute, 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1). The case is significant for understanding the Third Circuit’s evolving approach to Second Amendment challenges; it also highlights the conceptual quagmire of applying Second Amendment protections (or not […]

Sir John Clonvowe & Social Norms of Bearing Arms in 1391

Posted by on September 29, 2021

The original public meaning of texts like the Second Amendment, or of the 1328 Statute of Northampton, includes the social context, and social norms, of the relevant period.  The semantic meaning of the words in these legal texts must be situated within the context of norms that people took for granted.  The crucial role of […]

The Ayres/Vars Proposal for Unlawful Possession Removal Petitions

Posted by on July 28, 2021

Ian Ayres and Frederick Vars, Weapon of Choice (Harvard Univ. Press, 2020) Ian Ayres and Fred Vars set forth several innovative proposals for firearms regulation in their 2020 book Weapon of Choice.  The first part of the book sets forth and expands upon the authors’ proposals for “Libertarian Gun Control,” i.e., self-imposed legal restrictions on […]

Thoughts on Greer v. United States

Posted by on June 25, 2021

In its June 14 decision in Greer v. United States, the Supreme Court addressed the mens rea requirement for the federal felon-in-possession law at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (also called the “felon prohibitor”).  (The Court consolidated the Greer case with a similar case, Gary v. United States, on appeal from another Circuit).  This opinion was […]

Sixth Circuit Breaks from Other Circuits and Invalidates the Bump Stock Ban

Posted by on April 7, 2021

In a break with other circuits, on March 25 the Sixth Circuit issued a decision  in Gun Owners of America v. Garland, holding that the ATF’s 2019 ban on bump stocks is invalid.  Previously, the DC Circuit and the Tenth Circuit have upheld the ban (more precisely, have rejected preliminary injunctions with opinions that effectively […]

New ABA Resolution: Opposition to Guns in Polling Places

Posted by on March 31, 2021

In late February 2021, the American Bar Association adopted Resolution 21M111, “Opposition to Guns In Polling Places,” which is short enough to insert as a single block quote: RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations to prohibit the possession and display of […]

Bump Stock Ban Litigation Developments

Posted by on March 12, 2021

In the last few weeks, we have had two new decisions in the litigation surrounding the ATF’s 2019 ban on bump stocks – a Feb. 23 decision granting the ATF’s summary judgment motions in the Guedes case in the D.C. district court, and a March 5 order by the Tenth Circuit in the Aposhian case […]

Michigan Legalizes Marijuana, Loses Its “Permanent Brady Permit” Status With ATF

Posted by on March 18, 2020

In twenty-two states, ATF allows licensed firearm dealers (FFL’s) to accept a state concealed carry license or permit (in Michigan, the terminology is Concealed Pistol License, or CPL) in lieu of a federal background check, because those states have concealed carry permit requirements at least as stringent as the federal background check requirements (see the […]

“Text, History, and Tradition” as a Three-Part Test

Posted by on March 11, 2020

Is “text, history, and tradition” (THT) an example of what linguists would call a “hendriatris,” referring to a single jurisprudential/decisional approach, or do each of the three words have semantic significance?

Firearm Policy and Alcohol Abuse

Posted by on February 26, 2020

In my forthcoming article, The Complex Interplay Between the Controlled Substances Act and the Gun Control Act, I focus on 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(3), which in its current form incorporates the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by reference and thereby prohibits violators of the CSA from possessing a firearm. This statutory intersection currently results in more than […]

Legal Marijuana & Gun Possession

Posted by on February 19, 2020

ATF Guidance Documents and Enforcement In September 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives released an Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL’s), providing regulatory guidance as to the intent of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(3) and its interaction with state laws that legalize marijuana in some way. The guidance document reminds FFL’s that […]

Does the Number of Guns Matter?

Posted by on December 26, 2019

A pair of recent reports address the number of firearms being manufactured and already in circulation: one from the ATF (a 2019 AFME report/update on manufactured, imported, and exported guns for 2017), which, along with previous ATF annual reports, furnished part of the basis for an industry annual report published by the National Shooting Sports […]

New Decision in a (Very) Old Case: City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp

Posted by on December 13, 2019

On November 26, the Indiana Supreme Court denied review in an important case regarding tort liability for gun manufacturers and the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA): City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp. The latest ruling leaves in place a Court of Appeals decision from last May, which in turn means […]

New NICS Case: Snyder v. United States, Part II

Posted by on November 27, 2019

A previous post explained how Steven Leroy Snyder failed his firearm purchase background checks on three occasions, but he passed the same background check when he renewed his concealed carry permit around the same time. He pursued both administrative remedies with the FBI to challenge the gun purchase denials and correct whatever inaccurate information was […]

New NICS Case: Snyder v. United States, Part I

Posted by on November 26, 2019

A recent federal district court decision from Washington State, Snyder v. United States, highlights the complex interplay of gun rights and the background check bureaucracy.  The October 30 decision brings together several areas of Administrative Law – judicial recourse (available relief) for adverse agency actions, cooperation and split responsibility between state and federal agencies, administrative […]

New Case: Powell v. State of Illinois

Posted by on October 14, 2019

A federal district court decision from September 30 raises some novel legal issues regarding firearm policy (the case is captioned Powell v. State of Illinois but is still at the pre-trial stage). On September 30, 2019, U.S. District Judge Joan Gotschall issued a breathtaking 34-page opinion denying in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss; it […]

Firearms Law Workshop Mini-Symposium, Part I: Going Gunless

Posted by on August 20, 2019

I returned home to Houston from the workshop at the Duke Center for Firearms Law on Saturday morning, and reached my home just as the news reports broke from El Paso about the massacre at the Wal Mart there.  When I woke up the next morning, there were news reports about a similar atrocity in […]

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