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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

Domestic Violence and the Home: Hard Questions for the Second Amendment

Posted by on November 7, 2019

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as Jake noted in his post earlier this week, the Center fortunately had a chance to help coordinate a well-attended event on the topic, which was co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for […]

Scholarship and the “Constitutional Case for Gun Control”

Posted by on October 31, 2019

Earlier this week, Yale law students Joshua Feinzig and Joshua Zoffer published a powerful piece in The Atlantic describing the “A Constitutional Case for Gun Control.” Inspired in part by Robert Cover’s work on the essential role of narrative in imbuing law with moral authority, they argue that the narrative-driven brief filed by the March […]

Scholarship Highlight: “Libertarian Gun Control”

Posted by on October 23, 2019

Most legal scholarship and public debate about gun rights and regulation focuses on whether and how gun laws can prevent homicide—understandably so, given the astounding number of gun homicides in the United States every year. But as those closer to the debate are well aware, the majority of gun deaths are by suicide. And far […]

The Second Amendment of Things (and Grievances)

Posted by on October 15, 2019

[This post is part of a symposium on Mary Anne Franks, The Cult of the Constitution (Stanford University Press, 2019), hosted on the Balkinization blog and is cross-posted there.] The second chapter of Mary Anne Franks’ exceptional new book, Cult of the Constitution, shows how constitutional fundamentalism distorts debates about gun rights and regulation. In doing so, […]

Does the Second Amendment Have a “Private Infrastructure”?

Posted by on September 11, 2019

The traditional model of constitutional rights puts the government on one side and individuals on the other; rights restrain the power of the former over the latter. But that model is a little bit over-simplified in a world of pluralistic rights disputes where constitutional interests arise on many sides simultaneously. Once one goes beyond the […]

Scholarship Highlight: James B. Jacobs & Zoe Fuhr, “The Toughest Gun Control Law in the Nation” (NYU Press 2019)

Posted by on August 13, 2019

Yesterday, amici filed briefs in support of the City in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York—the Second Amendment case that many thought (and some still think) might be a blockbuster. (Full disclosure: Along with Darrell Miller and Eric Ruben, I submitted an amicus brief in support of neither […]

The “Handgun Article” in Justice Powell’s Papers

Posted by on August 8, 2019

Twenty seven years ago this week, Justice Powell’s clerk sent him a lengthy fax with the subject line “Handgun Article.” Along with Justice Stevens’ post-retirement commentary (about which Darrell and I will have more to say shortly), I think it might be the most thorough statement of a Justice’s views on guns and the Second […]

Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop

Posted by on August 7, 2019

On Friday, the Center for Firearms Law hosted the first of what we hope will become an annual Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop. The immediate goal was to give scholars—especially those new to the area—a chance to engage with another’s work. More broadly, and in keeping with the Center’s overall mission, our hope was to help […]

Unexpected Choices in Teaching Firearms Law

Posted by on July 12, 2019

I’ve been thinking and writing about the Second Amendment for a decade, but this past year was the first time I’ve ever actually taught a course on firearms law—a seminar called “Second Amendment: History, Theory, and Practice.” The first three weeks covered some basic history and empirics, and an overview of the opinions in District […]

Scholarship Highlight: Gouzoules on “The Diverging Right(s) to Bear Arms”

Posted by on June 28, 2019

Alexander Gouzoules has posted on SSRN an interesting new piece, “The Diverging Right(s) to Bear Arms: Private Armament and the Second and Fourteenth Amendments in Historical Context,” which was just published in the Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review. It is well worth a read for anyone interested in historical understandings of the […]