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Dangerous and Unusual Weapons

Public Nuisance Liability and the Irrelevance of the Second Amendment

Posted by on April 12, 2022

1. Introduction In 2005, the U.S. Congress bestowed on gun makers and sellers broad immunity from civil lawsuits by enacting the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Congress explicitly based this immunity on the need to protect Second Amendment rights, pitting defenders of those rights against victims of criminal gun violence seeking to […]

Commonality Redux

Posted by on February 25, 2022

Many Second Amendment questions remained open after Heller. The Court clarified that the right to keep and bear arms guarantees a private, individual right to have a handgun at home for purposes like self-defense, but it left open a host of questions about where people can take their weapons, what weapons can be restricted, and […]

Bump Stocks Remain a Hot Topic in the Federal Courts

Posted by on December 15, 2021

A three judge panel of the Fifth Circuit upheld the federal bump stock ban yesterday. In a post last Wednesday, I noted how the Sixth Circuit en banc had split evenly on the legality of the bump stock ban, leaving in place the trial court’s decision upholding the regulation. The question doesn’t appear to be […]

Bump Stock Ban Heading for the Supreme Court (Again)

Posted by on December 8, 2021

As I mentioned earlier this week, the en banc Sixth Circuit failed to reach consensus on the legality of the Trump Administration’s ban on bump stock devices, which convert semi-automatic firearms into weapons that can approximate the rate of fire of an automatic firearm. (If you’re unfamiliar with the operation of bump stocks, I’ve found […]

En Banc Ninth Circuit Upholds California’s Large-Capacity Magazine Ban

Posted by on December 1, 2021

In a major decision issued yesterday, the en banc Ninth Circuit upheld California’s ban on large-capacity magazines. By a 7-4 vote in Duncan v. Bonta, the court ruled that intermediate scrutiny applied to California’s law and that the provision was a reasonable fit with the government’s goal of preventing gun violence. I’ve previously written about […]

Observations Regarding the Interpretation and Legacy of the Statute of Northampton in Anglo-American Legal History

Posted by on September 17, 2021

The Statute of Northampton of 1328 remains central to the current debate surrounding the limits and protections the Second Amendment provides to carry arms in public.[1] The Statute provided that “no man great nor small, of what condition soever he be, except the king’s servants in his presence…come before the King’s justices, or other of […]

The Continuing Relevance of the Saturday Night Special

Posted by on August 2, 2021

Mister Saturday Night Special / Got a barrel that’s blue and cold / It ain’t good for nothing but puttin’ men six feet in a hole “Saturday Night Special,” Lynard Skynyrd, 1975 Today, reference to a “Saturday Night Special” is rarely heard outside of old films or perhaps among vintage firearms enthusiasts. Rather than a […]

On Cedar Point Nursery and Firearm Regulations

Posted by on July 23, 2021

On June 22, the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in Duncan v. Bonta. The bulk of the arguments regarded the challengers’ claim that California’s large capacity magazine (LCM) ban violates their second amendment rights. Judge Paul Watford, however, focused on their takings claim, training all six of his questions to both sides on the subject. […]

“Nomological Desperation”: What’s Common in Second and Eighth Amendment Doctrines?

Posted by on June 23, 2021

As interpreted by the Supreme Court in Heller, the Second Amendment protects arms that are in common use by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Yesterday, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in Duncan v. Bonta, a Second Amendment challenge to California’s ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 […]

Further Thoughts on Miller v. Bonta and “Assault Weapons”

Posted by on June 16, 2021

Today I’m highlighting further thoughts on Miller v. Bonta, the California federal court decision striking down the state’s assault weapons ban, which I’ve written on several times already last week–here and here. This time, the analysis comes from my Duke Law colleague Charles J. Dunlap Jr., the former deputy judge advocate general of the United States […]