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The Myth of the “Massachusetts Model”

Posted by on June 16, 2022

The title of Saul Cornell’s recent blog post—The Myth of Non-enforcement of Gun Laws in Nineteenth Century America—leaves the impression that I will argue that nineteenth-century gun restrictions went unenforced.  I will make no such argument.  In some places, laws regulating the carrying of weapons were enforced strictly.  In others, they were ignored.  Some authorities […]

The Myth of Non-enforcement of Gun Laws in Nineteenth Century America: Evidence vs Ideology in Second Amendment Scholarship

Posted by on June 1, 2022

In his Bruen oral argument, former solicitor general Paul Clement erroneously claimed that there was no evidence of enforcement of restrictive gun laws before the Civil War. The non-enforcement thesis is the latest example of ideology distorting Second Amendment scholarship. Indeed, during the oral argument in Bruen, Justice Breyer took the unusual step of characterizing […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Research and Arguments about the Second Amendment

Posted by on May 11, 2022

There’s been a spate of new Second Amendment scholarship, including a just published piece by the Center’s own Joseph Blocher (with co-author Eric Ruben). There are also a couple of wide-ranging student pieces skeptical about/supportive of different gun regulations. Eric Ruben & Joseph Blocher, “Second-Class” Rhetoric, Ideology, and Doctrinal Change, 110 Geo. L.J. 613 (2022) […]

Exporting Open Carry Bans?

Posted by on April 20, 2022

Many states are becoming territorial about their residents. So territorial, in fact, that at least some legislators are proposing ways to functionally use their state’s criminal code extraterritorially. Proposals to criminalize conduct that facilitates women seeking abortion care outside the state have cropped up in Missouri. Other states target different sorts of conduct they deem […]

A New Call to Arms: Rewriting Second Amendment Threats

Posted by on April 13, 2022

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), codified at 15 U.S.C. § 7901 et seq., has nearly banished the specter of civil liability for covered gun industry entities. PLCAA was predicated on the claim that gun industry actors, including firearm manufacturers and sellers, were under siege from baseless lawsuits founded on novel legal […]

Essays from Privatizing the Gun Debate Conference

Posted by on April 1, 2022

On March 18th, the Center hosted a conference at the law school on Privatizing the Gun Debate. We were grateful to be joined by a dozen scholars, practitioners, and public officials to discuss the ways that firearms are increasingly being regulated outside legislative channels through actions like tort lawsuits and business policies. The keynote address was deliver […]

THT and Analogy

Posted by on March 30, 2022

On his Legal Theory blog, Larry Solum recently highly recommend a piece by Frederick Schauer & Barbara A. Spellman, Precedent and Similarity, forthcoming in T. Endicott, H. Kristjansson & S. Lewis (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Precedent (Oxford University Press). The piece describes a problem endemic in legal reasoning—the difficulty of establishing just what makes one […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Firearms Law Drafts on SSRN

Posted by on March 23, 2022

Here are a few new articles posted on SSRN in the last few weeks that draw connections between existing legal doctrine and the cultural and statutory changes in gun rights. Tyler Smotherman, Troubleshooting the Gun-Free School Zones Act: A Call for Amendment in the Age of Constitutional Carry When Texas became the most recent state […]

A Florida Movie Theater and Lethal Self-Defense

Posted by on March 2, 2022

On February 25, 2022, a Florida jury acquitted the former police officer who shot and a killed the man he argued with in a movie theater in 2014. Curtis Reeves wasn’t just any retired police officer, but a former SWAT commander. His defense counsel even argued that his past informed his perceptions of the threat […]

The Problem with Assumptions: Reassessing the Historical Gun Policies of Arkansas and Tennessee

Posted by on January 20, 2022

Scholarship on the subject of historical firearm laws has, whether knowingly or not, tended to take certain ideas for granted. Chief among these assumptions is that post-Civil War public carry laws have been the primary vehicle for creating a racially inequitable right to arms. There is also widespread acceptance of the notion that openly carrying […]

Illegal Firearm Possession: A Reflection on Policies and Practices that May Miss the Mark and Exacerbate Racial Disparity in the Justice System

Posted by on January 19, 2022

Introduction Justifiably, there has been considerable attention and focus by the public, scholars, policy makers, and criminal justice and public health practitioners on violent crimes involving firearms. However, much less attention has been paid to the crime of illegal possession of firearms. Part of this reflects dramatically different definitions of this behavior across the states […]

When CRT Meets 2A

Posted by on January 11, 2022

Forty-four reasons come to mind Why a motherfuckin’ brother is hard to find He been walkin’ on the streets and fuckin’ with mine Stupid punk can’t fuck with a mastermind See, I never take a step on a Compton block Or L.A. without the AK ready to pop ‘Cause them punk motherfuckers in black and […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 1/10/22

Posted by on January 10, 2022

In its order list this week, the Supreme Court denied cert in P.Z. and Hatch. Although P.Z. seemed like  quite a long shot to me, Hatch seemed to at least implicate issues the Court is adjudicating in Bruen, so if the Court held the case that wouldn’t be surprising. The case challenged a Minnesota law […]

From Self-Defense to Self-Deputization: Defensive Gun Use and the Performance of Reasonable Belief

Posted by on January 7, 2022

 In the past decade, three high-profile trials have revolved around a seemingly straightforward question: can a person take a gun to a location where they are reasonably sure that there will be volatility and even violence, introduce that firearm into a fight, shoot someone in the course of that fight, and then claim self-defense because […]

Disarming the Police: Blue Lives, Black Lives and Guns

Posted by on January 6, 2022

The theory of interest convergence, articulated first by Professor Derrick Bell in a Harvard Law Review article, states that “the interests of blacks in achieving racial equality will be accommodated only when it converges with the interests of whites.”[1] Using the landmark school desegregation case of Brown v. Board of Education[2] as an example, Bell […]

Essays on Race and Guns in America

Posted by on January 4, 2022

We are excited to begin rolling out the essays from the Center’s recent roundtable on Race and Guns in America. The essays are impressively rich and thoughtful, offering various descriptions and diagnoses (and some prescriptions) for the persistent problems that arise in a country flooded with guns and saturated with systemic racism. Starting tomorrow, we […]

Center Roundtable on Race and Guns in America

Posted by on December 3, 2021

In mid-November, the Center hosted a roundtable discussion on Race and Guns in America. The conversation addressed difficult and timely issues surrounding issues of policing, public carry, vigilante actors, and self-defense.  In January, we will be publishing the essays from the participants that came out of the event. From the discussion, it is clear those essays […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Work on Corpus Linguistics and on Bruen

Posted by on November 26, 2021

In the past few weeks, there’s been a few new pieces of interesting firearms law scholarship out. One focuses on the challenge to Heller from the corpus linguistics data unavailable at the time of the decision. The other argues that the historical record supports New York’s law under review in Bruen. James C. Phillips & […]

Center’s March 2022 Symposium with Harvard Law Review

Posted by on November 17, 2021

We are excited to announce our next symposium will be hosted at Harvard Law School on March 25, 2022 in coordination with the Harvard Law Review. The theme is Guns, Violence, and Democracy. The events of the past several years—including pandemic-produced uncertainty and economic instability, antiracism protests, and assaults on free and fair elections—have confirmed […]

Debriefing Bruen with Mary McCord

Posted by on November 10, 2021

Tomorrow, Nov. 11, the Center is hosting a lunch time discussion with Mary McCord, Executive Director, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center up in Washington, D.C. We’ll be unpacking observations from the Supreme Court’s arguments last week in Bruen. Registration is required, but the […]

Center Media Round-up on Bruen

Posted by on November 5, 2021

As we continue to process the oral arguments in Bruen (see some quick reactions here), we will be writing more about our impressions and analyses of what might come next. In the meantime, below are some of the media interviews that Center leadership did in the days leading up to and in response to Bruen: […]

Bruen – Quick Reactions & Live Thread

Posted by on November 3, 2021

This morning, the Supreme Court held oral argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The case has the potential to revolutionize Second Amendment doctrine, and we’ve covered the case several times on this blog, including in the overview post here and our what-to-watch-at-argument post here. We’ll have much more to say in […]

Public Carry, History, and Enforcing Gun Laws

Posted by on October 29, 2021

In their reply brief before the Supreme Court, the challengers in Bruen claimed that “neither the state nor any of its amici has been able to identify a single instance before the twentieth century of someone being successfully prosecuted for the bare act of carrying a common firearm for self-defense.” This is a surprising, and […]

New Research from the UC Davis Symposium: The Theoretical Lethality Index, Reconstruction Regulation and Enforcement

Posted by on October 22, 2021

On October 1, the University of California at Davis Law School, in partnership with Giffords Law Center, put together a fabulous hybrid in person/virtual symposium:  “The 2nd Amendment at the Supreme Court: ‘700 Years of History’ and the Modern Effects of Guns in Public.”   There were some terrific panels, and I learned a lot from […]

Breaking Down the Respondent’s Amicus Briefs in Bruen

Posted by on October 20, 2021

In a previous post, I discussed the question at issue in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the two dimensions of particular importance in the case, and the initial amicus briefs filed in support of the petitioner and in support of neither party. Approximately two months later, the remainder of the […]