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About Joseph Blocher

Faculty Co-Director and Lanty L. Smith ’67 Professor Law. Blocher researches federal and state constitutional law, the First and Second Amendments, legal history, and property. His current scholarship addresses issues of gun rights and regulation, free speech, sovereignty, and refugee law. He has published dozens of articles on those topics and co-authored Free Speech Beyond Words (NYU Press, 2017) and The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation, and the Future of Heller (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Written by Joseph Blocher

United States v. Perez and Doctrinal Development

Posted by on September 15, 2021

Earlier this summer, in United States v. Perez, a divided panel of the Second Circuit rejected a challenge to 922(g)(5)—the federal law prohibiting gun possession by undocumented immigrants. I missed the case at the time, but Law360 has an interesting write up on the decision and how it fits into broader litigation regarding immigrants’ gun […]

Takings Claims Against Parking Lot Laws After Cedar Point

Posted by on September 10, 2021

Last Term, in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, the Supreme Court found that a California regulation requiring agricultural employers to allow union organizers onto their farms constituted a taking. Noah Levine has a great blog post here about what Cedar Point could mean for takings claims regarding large capacity magazines and other forms of gun-related […]

Scholarship Highlight: “State Preemption of Local Gun Regulations: Taking Aim at Barriers to Change in Firearm Policy”

Posted by on April 30, 2021

Although the Second Amendment still tends to get all the attention in debates about firearms law, scholars are starting to pay more attention to state-level preemption laws, which currently present a more significant legal barrier to gun regulation than the Constitution. Broad changes in preemption law have been a topic of particular concern to scholars […]

When Guns Threaten the Public Sphere: Recovering the Common Law Approach to Public Safety

Posted by on January 15, 2021

What can armed protest teach about the case for gun regulation?  Reva Siegel and I have just posted our article, When Guns Threaten the Public Sphere: Recovering the Common Law Approach to Public Safety, which is forthcoming as part of the Northwestern Law Review symposium the Center co-sponsored this past fall. Here is the abstract: […]

Harvard Law Review NYSRPA Case Comment

Posted by on November 13, 2020

It’s fair to say that when the Supreme Court granted cert in NYSRPA, I did not expect that the eventual Harvard Law Review Case Comment about the decision would appear under the header “Article III—Justiciability—Mootness.” But, of course, that’s just how the case ended up. Still, the Comment, which was just published online (and is […]

The Breadth of Judge Barrett’s “Dangerousness” Principle

Posted by and on October 2, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett opened her dissent in Kanter v. Barr by identifying a historical principle underlying modern gun regulation: “History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns.” She went on to suggest that dangerousness is the Second Amendment’s exclusive limiting principle, such […]

ECHR Ruling on the “Right to Life”

Posted by on September 23, 2020

Earlier this month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Finnish authorities violated the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to take sufficient steps to prevent a school shooting. (h/t Larry Helfer) From the Registrar of Court’s summary of the facts: The perpetrator had been given a gun licence by the local police […]

Scholarship Highlight Interview: Sheila Simon on Second Amendment Sanctuaries

Posted by on August 12, 2020

Sheila Simon, Assistant Professor of Law at Southern Illinois University School of Law, recently published a fascinating paper about gun sanctuary ordinances – On Target? Assessing Gun Sanctuary Ordinances that Conflict with State Law, 122 W. Va. L. Rev. 817 (2020) – which she was generous enough to discuss with me in our most recent […]

Scholarship Highlight Interview: Natalie Nanasi on Disarming Domestic Abusers

Posted by on July 22, 2020

I recently had a chance to talk with Natalie Nanasi, Assistant Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law and Director of the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women. Prof. Nanasi has written a lot of incisive scholarship on issues including immigration, domestic violence, and feminist legal theory. […]

Scholarship Highlight: Jennifer Tucker on Public History and Guns

Posted by on July 17, 2020

Second Amendment scholars naturally spend a great deal of time and energy focusing on questions about the history of gun rights and regulation, but less time investigating questions about how that history is or should be presented to the public in venues like museum exhibits. Historian Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan) has done as much as any […]