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Reading the Second Amendment SCOTUS Tea Leaves

Posted by on December 16, 2020

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied cert in Torres v. United States, the first case that presented a direct Second Amendment issue since Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the Court. Torres raised the question of whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)—which categorically forbids those with felony convictions from possessing firearms—can be challenged on an as-applied basis. […]

Litigation Highlight: New Second Amendment Cert Petition

Posted by on December 4, 2020

The especially active gun-rights organization, Firearms Policy Coalition, has filed a new cert petition this week in Holloway v. Barr. As we’ve highlighted before on the blog, Holloway is another as-applied challenge to the federal firearm prohibitor. This one (like the Folajtar case from a few weeks ago) takes place in one of the few circuits to […]

The Biden Administration Gun Plan

Posted by on December 2, 2020

On his campaign website, President-Elect Joe Biden lists several of his administration’s priorities for firearm regulation. Since the actual policy proposals are not spelled out in depth, it is hard to evaluate the precise details of his plan. And, of course, the ones that require congressional action are much less likely to pass if the […]

Litigation Highlight: Third Circuit Upholds Felon Prohibitor in Divided Decision

Posted by on November 27, 2020

The question of who gets to keep and bear arms is an issue that Heller left unsettled when it announced an individual right in 2008. Since then, lower courts have generally rejected challenges to the federal law barring felons from possessing firearms. Indeed, courts are unanimous that facial challenges to the law fail, but there […]

Litigation Highlight: Doe v. Governor of Pennsylvania

Posted by on October 16, 2020

In a decision earlier this week, Doe v. Governor of Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit rejected a facial due process challenge by two men whose mental health commitments rendered them ineligible to possess firearms. They challenged a Pennsylvania law that forbids anyone who has been “committed to a mental institution for inpatient care and treatment” under […]

Amy Coney Barrett on Guns

Posted by on October 14, 2020

With just a few years on the bench, Judge Barrett has already developed a surprisingly deep record on guns and the Second Amendment. These cases suggest a special solicitude for gun owners and users—and not just for the paradigmatic “law-abiding, responsible” ones. Indeed, in her Second Amendment and criminal law cases, she has several times […]

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 […]

Ninth Circuit Rejects En Banc Review for Application of Mental Health Prohibitor Over Sharp Dissent

Posted by on September 11, 2020

As we previously highlighted on the blog, a Ninth Circuit panel in March upheld the federal lifetime firearm ban as applied to an individual involuntary committed to a mental institution twenty years prior. In Mai v. United States, the panel split with the Sixth Circuit on the issue, joining a Third Circuit panel rejecting an […]

Eleventh Circuit Not Open to As-Applied Challenges to the Felon Prohibitor

Posted by on July 27, 2020

In a forthcoming article in Law & Contemporary Problems, I address some of the conceptual confusion generated by the lifetime prohibition on firearm possession by those previously convicted of a felony offense. The difficulty arises at least in part from complicated factors in the function and adjudication of the felon prohibitor, which the Eleventh Circuit’s […]

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 […]