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Sir John Clonvowe & Social Norms of Bearing Arms in 1391

Posted by on September 29, 2021

The original public meaning of texts like the Second Amendment, or of the 1328 Statute of Northampton, includes the social context, and social norms, of the relevant period.  The semantic meaning of the words in these legal texts must be situated within the context of norms that people took for granted.  The crucial role of […]

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 Disjunction Between Civilian and Peace Officer Firearms Training Requirements

Posted by on August 30, 2021

Despite the deadly effects of firearms, ordinary civilians can often own and publicly carry them with far less training than is required of peace officers. A peace officer and a civilian are both capable and authorized by law to use a publicly carried weapon in a deadly manner. Yet, civilians can frequently access these deadly […]

Scholarship Roundup: Guns & Race, Public Carry, and More

Posted by on August 27, 2021

Several more articles and works in progress have been published or posted publicly in the last few weeks. They all raise thought-provoking arguments, and I was especially interested to see Patrick Charles’s article (again, no relation to me) on guns and race–it adds new texture to the competing paradigms that characterize either all gun control […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Works on Firearms Law

Posted by on August 18, 2021

As we gear up for the Supreme Court’s hearing of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen in November, other firearms law and Second Amendment issues continue to be litigated in lower courts and debated in the literature. Here are new pieces that take on the issue of public carry (just recently posted to […]

Breaking Down the Initial Amicus Briefs in Bruen

Posted by on August 11, 2021

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the Supreme Court will answer: Did New York’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violate the Second Amendment? New York bars open carry of handguns, and the state has a “may issue” licensing scheme to carry a concealed handgun. This means […]

A Historian’s Assessment of the Anti-Immigrant Narrative in NYSRPA v. Bruen

Posted by on August 4, 2021

In the upcoming Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (20-843), the petitioners and several accompanying amici are characterizing New York’s 1911 Sullivan Law as having deep anti-immigrant roots. In one section of petitioners’ brief it is alleged that “New York was at the forefront of this new wave of […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Works on Public Carry and More

Posted by on July 21, 2021

Given the recent spate of merits and amicus briefing in the Bruen case that challenges New York’s concealed carry law, some new scholarship analyzing that issue is especially timely. Below I highlight those and some other new firearms law scholarship: Patrick J. Charles, The Invention of the Right to “Peaceable Carry” in Modern Second Amendment […]

Cars, Homes & Emergencies: Implications from Caniglia for Gun Laws

Posted by on May 21, 2021

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Caniglia v. Strom. At issue in the case was whether police could enter a home and search and seize items without a warrant when conducting “community caretaking functions” (i.e., not traditional criminal investigation). The Court had held in 1973, in Cady v. Dombrowski, that […]

Pointing Guns

Posted by on May 19, 2021

Earlier this week, the Texas Law Review published Pointing Guns, an essay jointly co-authored by me, Joseph, Darrell, and our colleague Sam Buell. The essay explores the cultural phenomenon of gun displays and the legal line separating lawful displays from unlawful brandishing and related crimes. Here’s the abstract: The American gun debate is increasingly populated […]

Scholarship Highlight – Forthcoming Gun Law Articles

Posted by on May 12, 2021

Today, I’m highlighting several forthcoming articles by established scholars and veterans of firearms law scholarship. These pieces raise interesting and often under-explored aspects of the legal regulation of guns. Drury D. Stevenson, Workplace Violence, Firearm Prohibitions, and the New Gun Rights, University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 55, 2021 Abstract: Workplace violence is surprisingly […]

New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen: The Basics

Posted by on April 28, 2021

On Monday, the Supreme Court granted review in an important Second Amendment case, which sets it up to issue a major decision on the topic for the first time in more than a decade. Below are some answers common questions about the case. What’s the case about? The case–New York State Rifle & Pistol Association […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Student Notes on Guns

Posted by on April 23, 2021

A few new student notes about firearms law have been published recently or will be soon. Once again, it’s great to see the field growing! Danny Li, The First Amendment Weaponized: When Guns Become Public Discourse, William & Mary Bill of Rights. J. (forthcoming) Here’s the Abstract: This Article discusses First Amendment challenges asserted against […]

Litigation Highlight: Young Adults Carrying Firearms

Posted by on April 21, 2021

In Lara v. Evanchick, Judge William Stickman IV, a recent Trump appointee on the federal district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, upheld last week the state’s licensing law and open carry restrictions as applied to 18-20 year-olds.  Under Pennsylvania law, only those over 21 are eligible to obtain the necessary license to carry a […]

Judging the Ninth Circuit’s Use of History in Young v. Hawaii

Posted by on April 16, 2021

Since the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its en banc decision in the much-anticipated Second Amendment outside the home case Young v. Hawaii, there has been a parade of critical commentary from gun rights circles. Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt described the decision as both embodying a hypocritical “‘guns for […]

New ABA Resolution: Opposition to Guns in Polling Places

Posted by on March 31, 2021

In late February 2021, the American Bar Association adopted Resolution 21M111, “Opposition to Guns In Polling Places,” which is short enough to insert as a single block quote: RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations to prohibit the possession and display of […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 3/29/21

Posted by on March 29, 2021

Last Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling in Young v. Hawaii, which upheld Hawaii’s permitting scheme requiring a person to prove a heightened need for self-defense in public to secure a permit to openly carry a handgun. At its conference last Friday, the Supreme Court considered the cert petition in New York State Rifle […]

En Banc Ninth Circuit Upholds Hawaii Public Carry Law

Posted by on March 26, 2021

Did the Ninth Circuit just limit the Second Amendment right to the home? That’s the first question I asked myself after reading the en banc decision in Young v. Hawaii, issued this past Wednesday. In a wide-ranging opinion spanning more than 100 pages, conservative George W. Bush appointed Judge Jay Bybee wrote for a 7-4 […]

New Center Event Video: Policing the Second Amendment

Posted by on February 12, 2021

I’m very happy that the video is now available from our terrific discussion last fall with Jennifer Carlson on her compelling new book, Policing the Second Amendment: Guns, Law Enforcement, and the Politics of Race. Drawing on local and national newspapers, interviews with close to eighty police chiefs, and a rare look at gun licensing […]

Carrying While Committing Crimes

Posted by on February 3, 2021

Last December, the Kansas Court of Appeals issued an interesting unpublished opinion in Bader v. Concealed Carry Licensing Unit. The dispute concerned Ryan Bader’s claim to a concealed carry handgun license. The state’s Concealed Carry Licensing Unit (CCLU) denied Bader a license because he had previously been convicted of attempted robbery, though Bader had the […]

Guns Laws, Decatur, and Protecting Black Lives

Posted by on January 20, 2021

I just finished Kathleen Belew’s excellent book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, and one story there stuck out to me. It’s a story about racist violence motivating stricter gun regulations with particular resonance for this moment. In 1979, a small group of Black protesters was marching in protest of […]

Members of Congress Have Little Right to Bear Arms on Capitol Hill

Posted by on January 15, 2021

After last week’s riot at the Capitol, the acting House Sergeant-at-Arms implemented a new policy requiring House members to be screened for weapons before entering the House chamber.  On Tuesday, June 12, the U.S. Capitol Police declined to admit Rep. Lauren Boebert (R.-Colo.) to the floor of the House of Representatives after she refused to […]

Litigation Highlights: Public Carry, Third-Party Standing and (More) LCMs

Posted by on September 4, 2020

In the past several weeks, there have been some important Second Amendment cases decided. I examined the Ninth Circuit’s decision on large-capacity magazines last week and offered some thoughts on the reasoning that led the court to strike down CA’s ban. There have also been a few other notable developments. In Association of New Jersey […]

Public Carry and Public Health: Good Cause as a Good Solution

Posted by on August 6, 2020

[Ed. note: This guest blog post is part of the Center’s Mini-Symposium on papers presented at the 2020 Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop.] A heavily armed man, Dmitriy Andreychenko, walks into his local Walmart, and was eventually taken out in handcuffs. Another heavily armed man, Patrick Crusius, walked into his local Walmart and left under the same […]

The Supreme Court and the Current Public Carry Petitions: Open Splits and Concealed Vehicle Problems

Posted by on May 29, 2020

In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.  Although the decision settled whether persons have a right to keep arms when they are not enrolled in an organized militia, the decision raised many follow-up questions.  Is the Second Amendment limited to keeping arms […]