Duke Center for Firearms Law
Duke Law logo

History

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: […]

Why Heller Is Such Bad History

Posted by on October 7, 2020

When I began the research for my recent book, Armed Citizens: The Road from Ancient Rome to the Second Amendment, my goal was to understand the origins of American gun laws. I was hardly alone in this, of course; there is an enormous amount of contemporary research on the original goals of the Second Amendment, […]

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 […]

Virginia Court Partially Enjoins New Private-Sale Background-Check Requirement

Posted by on July 21, 2020

In 2020, the Virginia legislature passed a host of new gun regulations: limiting purchases of handguns to one a month, requiring the reporting of lost/stolen firearms, giving local autonomy over gun restrictions on government property, creating an extreme risk protection (aka red flag) law, and others. These new laws, in a state that had previously […]

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 […]

A Police Powers Defense to Second Amendment Challenges?

Posted by on June 26, 2020

In a recent article in the Chicago Law Review, The Origins of Substantive Due Process, Ilan Wurman argues against the notion that antebellum courts enforced limits on state or local legislative power through a doctrine of substantive due process. Instead, limits on this legislative power—apart from state constitutional rights guarantees—operated through three principal doctrines: (1) […]

A Court in Denial

Posted by on June 19, 2020

Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the Supreme Court in October 2018, taking over the seat from retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In January 2019, after nearly a decade of declining to hear a Second Amendment case, the Court granted review in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. Many observers—myself certainly included—thought […]

Parking Lot Laws: A History

Posted by on June 17, 2020

Parking lot laws, also called “bring your gun to work” or “guns-at-work” laws, are state laws that prohibit property owners or employers from preventing individuals from storing firearms in their parked vehicles in the property owner or employer’s parking area. These laws subordinate employers and property owners’ right to regulate their own property to the […]

Gunpowder, Plague, and Tradition

Posted by on April 2, 2020

In 1720, writer and self-designated medical expert Joseph Browne published his A Practical Treatise of the Plague, in which he extolled the benefits of the “firing of Guns, especially Cannon” to “purify” an atmosphere laden with pestilence.  In recommending this approach, Browne had significant company.  It appears that igniting gunpowder had been the folk medicine […]

Scholarship Highlight: Cottrol & Diamond on Public Safety and the Second Amendment

Posted by on February 6, 2020

Robert Cottrol and Ray Diamond have posted on SSRN a new piece on Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms. In the piece, Cottrol and Diamond provide a detailed and thorough examination of the debates and historical understanding that influenced codification of the Second Amendment and its interpretation in the ensuing years, decades, and […]