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Student Note Scholarship Highlight: The Modern Relevance of the Militia, and a Proposal to Close the “Boyfriend Loophole”

Posted by on June 7, 2023

This post is the second in our mini-series highlighting recent law student notes on firearms law topics (see the initial post here).   William Reach of William & Mary Law School has written a note for the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal evaluating the continued relevance of Miller, Presser, and a militia-related right to […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 6/5/23

Posted by on June 5, 2023

In Rahimi, the respondent filed his brief in opposition to the government’s cert petition on May 30.  The respondent’s brief leans heavily on the fact that Bruen is less than one year old—Rahimi argues that “[a] successful constitutional challenge to a seldom prosecuted gun crime is not an emergency” and emphasizes the importance of “percolation—the independent evaluation […]

Litigation Highlight: Virginia Judge Strikes Down Provisions of Federal Law that Prohibit Federally Licensed Dealers from Selling Handguns to Those Under Age 21

Posted by on June 2, 2023

On May 10, Judge Robert Payne of the Eastern District of Virginia issued a decision in Fraser v. ATF invalidating the statutory framework that prohibits federally licensed firearm dealers (or FFLs) from selling handguns to individuals under the age of 21.  Federal law makes it unlawful for an FFL to sell or deliver a handgun, […]

Scholarship Highlight: Federal Firearms Crimes, Product Safety Regulations and the Quaker Role in Second Amendment Debates

Posted by on June 1, 2023

In a new article that is forthcoming in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Brandon Beck seeks “to create a holistic framework for thinking about the modern federal approach to firearms by situating it, historically and conceptually, as a fundamentally distinct era within the larger story of federal firearms criminalization.”  Beck separates the […]

Court Battles Over Assault Weapon Bans—And A New California Ruling

Posted by on May 30, 2023

Restrictions on select kinds of semi-automatic firearms (often labeled assault weapons) are back in the news after the Supreme Court last week declined to halt Illinois’s new law. The request to the Court came on the justices’ so-called shadow docket, where the challengers were seeking emergency relief before the Seventh Circuit had even considered the […]

The History of North Carolina’s 1879 Concealed Carry Ban: Part II

Posted by on May 26, 2023

This is Part Two in a two-part series on the history of North Carolina’s 1879 concealed carry law.  Part One summarized the historical context and legislative record surrounding the law.  Part Two will address how the law was enforced in one North Carolina county in the decades after it was enacted.   Enforcement of the 1879 […]

The History of North Carolina’s 1879 Concealed Carry Ban: Part I

Posted by on May 24, 2023

Contemporary debates over gun policy often occur in the shadow of history.  As we previously described, the recent debate in the North Carolina legislature over whether to repeal the state’s 1919 law requiring a state-issued permit to purchase a handgun was framed by competing claims about why that law was originally enacted.  Those who supported […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/22/23

Posted by on May 22, 2023

On May 17, the Court denied the pending emergency application to reverse a district court decision upholding Illinois’ assault weapons and large-capacity magazine ban pending appeal in Bevis v. Naperville.  There was no explanation for the denial, and there were no written dissents or statements issued.  It’s not surprising to me that the Court declined […]

Student Note Scholarship Highlight: Perspectives on NY’s Concealed Carry Law and a Comparative Evaluation of American and Australian Gun Regulation

Posted by on May 19, 2023

This highlight focuses on recently-published pieces of law student scholarship.  With the end of the academic year, we are going to run a short series highlighting new student notes on firearms-related topics.  First, a note by rising third-year student Morgan Band in the Fordham Law Review evaluates the “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” that New York passed shortly […]

Litigation Highlight: Southern District of Illinois Strikes Down Illinois Assault Weapons and LCM Ban

Posted by on May 17, 2023

On April 28, a judge in the Southern District of Illinois issued a decision in Barnett v. Raoul granting a preliminary injunction of Illinois’ ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines (LCMs) enacted earlier this year—the Protect Illinois Communities Act, or PICA.[1]  Two federal judges in the Northern District of Illinois had previously denied motions […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/15/23

Posted by on May 15, 2023

The emergency application to reverse the district court decision denying a preliminary injunction of Illinois’ assault weapons and LCM ban in Bevis is now fully briefed and ready for decision.   The state’s response, which was filed on May 10, argues that the Court should deny the application due to the interlocutory posture of the case, the […]

Litigation Highlight: Federal Judge Upholds D.C. Law Banning Large-Capacity Magazines

Posted by on May 12, 2023

On April 20, a federal judge in the District of Columbia denied a motion for a preliminary injunction of a Washington, D.C. law banning the possession, sale, and transfer of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition in Hanson v. D.C.  The decision continues a trend of federal courts upholding large-capacity magazine, […]

Scholarship Highlight: First Amendment and Racial Dimensions of Bruen

Posted by on May 10, 2023

This is the fifth entry in our ongoing series summarizing new legal scholarship regarding the Bruen decision (see the earlier highlights here, here, here, and here). In a paper recently published in the Pepperdine Law Review, Michael Smith and Alexander Hiland draw a connection between Justice Clarence Thomas’ call to revisit the Supreme Court’s 1964 […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/8/23

Posted by on May 8, 2023

On April 26, the plaintiffs in a case challenging Illinois’ new law banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines filed an application for an emergency injunction with the Supreme Court.  Judge Virginia Kendall of the Northern District of Illinois denied a motion to preliminarily enjoin the Illinois law on February 17, and the plaintiffs appealed her […]

District Judge Strikes Down Minnesota Law Restricting 18-to-20-Year-Olds from Carrying Handguns in Public, but Issues Stay Pending Appeal

Posted by on May 5, 2023

On March 31, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Menendez issued a decision in Worth v. Harrington finding portions of a Minnesota statute unconstitutional and enjoining the state from enforcing the statute in the future. The provision struck down in Worth is a part of the state’s permit-to-carry statute. In Minnesota, a permit is required to […]

The Most Disputed Federal Law Post-Bruen

Posted by on May 3, 2023

One federal law has generated more dissensus in the lower federal courts post-Bruen than any other: 18 U.S.C. § 922(n). That provision bars individuals under felony indictment from shipping or transporting guns or ammunition in interstate commerce or receiving guns or ammunition that have been shipped or transported in interstate commerce. Just over a week […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/1/23

Posted by on May 1, 2023

The Court has requested a response in Vullo and set the response deadline for May 24, although a motion was filed to extend that date to June 23.  In Cargill, a case dealing with ATF’s rule criminalizing possession of bump stock devices, the Court granted a motion to extend Cargill’s response deadline to June 7.  On April […]

How Have State Gun Laws Changed Since Bruen?

Posted by on April 28, 2023

In just over ten months since Bruen was decided last June, there has been significant movement on gun regulation at the state level.  On the surface, these developments aren’t all that surprising because they generally track what one would expect given the partisan balance in each state legislature: red states have tended to roll back […]

Second Amendment Sanctuaries, Preemption, and Lessons from the Immigration Context

Posted by on April 26, 2023

Over the past several decades, two trends in gun regulation at the state and local level have come into conflict with one another.  First, beginning in the 1980s, states increasingly adopted broad preemption laws that limit the authority of local and municipal governments to regulate firearms.  As Rachel Simon describes, “[f]orty-five states have adopted express […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/24/23

Posted by on April 24, 2023

The Court denied certiorari today in Gazzola, a challenge to certain New York regulations on the commercial sale of firearms, noting that the petition had been filed “before judgment.”  Vullo, a First Amendment challenge involving state government guidance and press urging banks and insurance companies to consider the reputational risks of doing business with gun-rights […]

Litigation Highlight: Third Circuit Considers the Scope of PLCAA’s Predicate Exception

Posted by on April 21, 2023

Shortly after Bruen was decided, New Jersey enacted a statute (A1765, codified at N.J. Stat. § 2C:58-35) authorizing the state attorney general to bring lawsuits against gun manufacturers who “knowingly or recklessly create, maintain, or contribute to a public nuisance in this State through the sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing, or marketing of a gun-related product.”  […]

What do the Fourteenth Amendment Debates Reveal about the Historical Reference Point for Incorporated Second Amendment Challenges?

Posted by on April 19, 2023

Imagine that, tomorrow, a historian unearths a trove of documents including written notes from congressional debates in 1788 and 1789 regarding the proposed Bill of Rights—debates that no one knew had occurred.  The documents include detailed statements by James Madison describing the intent and meaning of the provisions in the Bill of Rights, including the […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/17/23

Posted by on April 17, 2023

On April 6, the federal government filed a petition for certiorari in Cargill v. Garland.  In January, an en banc Fifth Circuit struck down the Trump-era ATF rule prohibiting bump-stock devices after finding that ATF lacked statutory authorization to ban bump stocks because “a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of ‘machinegun’ set […]

Litigation Highlight: En Banc First Circuit Clarifies Rehaif’s Application to 922(g)(9) Prosecutions

Posted by on April 14, 2023

In its March 24, 2023 en banc decision in United States v. Minor, the First Circuit wrestled with the application of Rehaif v. United States to Section 922(g)(9) charges – the heart and soul of the federal domestic violence initiative. In a nutshell, 922(g)(9) prohibits the possession of firearms and/or ammunition by a person convicted […]

Litigation Highlight: Eighth Circuit Rejects Challenge to Illegal-Alien Prohibition at Bruen Step One

Posted by on April 12, 2023

On April 4, the Eighth Circuit issued a published decision in United States v. Sitladeen rejecting a post-Bruen challenge to the federal ban on “alien[s] . . .  illegally or unlawfully in the United States” possessing firearms.  The decision employed a different “step one” analysis than the Fifth Circuit panel in Rahimi, ultimately focusing on […]