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Laws with an Ugly Past

Posted by on February 7, 2020

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Espinoza v. Montana Dep’t of Revenue, which concerns the use of public funds for religious schools. Part of the issue in that case is what to make of Montana’s Blaine Amendment, a type of state constitutional provision that prohibits appropriating funds to religious sects or […]

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 […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 2/3/20

Posted by on February 3, 2020

The Supreme Court is on winter recess for the next few weeks, so unless we have new petitions filed, I expect some (more) quiet in the near future. The next scheduled orders & opinions will not come out until Monday, February 24, with a possibility for some orders after the Court’s Friday, February 21 conference. […]

Litigation Highlight: Holloway & As-Applied Challenges

Posted by on January 31, 2020

A new Third Circuit case, Holloway v. Attorney General, sheds more light on how that circuit will consider as-applied challenges to the federal felon prohibitor—18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Consistent with its fractured opinion in Binderup v. Attorney General, the Holloway court reaffirmed that seriousness, not violence, is the proper measure for whether an otherwise disqualifying […]

Warped Narratives: Distortion in the Framing of Gun Policy

Posted by on January 29, 2020

Every year in America, gun violence claims more than 35,000 lives, with gun-related injuries accounting for more than twice that number. Despite this staggering problem, the federal government has taken very little action since in the mid-1990s. How do we account for this policy stalemate and, some would say, failure on the part of public […]

Equilibrium Adjustment and Second Amendment Doctrine

Posted by on January 28, 2020

Almost a decade ago, Professor Orin Kerr wrote a brilliant article called “An Equilibrium-Adjustment Theory of the Fourth Amendment.”  In it, he posited a theory of the Fourth Amendment that describes judges applying Fourth Amendment doctrine so as to maintain some equilibrium between police power and personal liberty.   As he writes: When changing technology or […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 1/27/20

Posted by on January 27, 2020

The Supreme Court has been quiet as we await NYSRPA. No action on the cases it heard last Friday at conference. Case Ct. Below Pet. Filed Implicated Law/Issue Status Mance v. Barr  5th Cir. 19-Nov-18 Federal ban on out-of-state handgun purchases distributed 12-Apr-19 conf. Rogers v. Grewal  3rd Cir. 20-Dec-18 NJ “may issue” public carry […]

Scholarship Highlight: Recent Student Work on Firearms Law

Posted by on January 24, 2020

A few new pieces of student scholarship on firearms law and the Second Amendment were recently uploaded to Westlaw. As these articles show, there are lots of interesting open issues in this area of law that ought to continue drawing interest among legal academics.

The First Amendment and Online Gun-Related Content

Posted by on January 22, 2020

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Following […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 1/20/20

Posted by on January 21, 2020

Due to the MLK holiday, the Court’s order list this week came out today. It was another relatively quiet week—no new cert petitions and no big action on the pending ones. We’re still suspecting that NYSRPA could come any day…or not for another five months.

Cert Petition Highlight: Beers v. Barr & Prohibited Persons

Posted by on January 17, 2020

In his telling, Bradley Beers was having a really bad day in 2005 when, as a 19-year-old college student, he returned home “deeply overwhelmed and stressed” about school. He threatened to take his life, so his mother took him to a local hospital for mental health treatment. The hospital committed him on an involuntary basis. […]

Teaching the Second Amendment at Duke Law

Posted by on January 15, 2020

This semester, I’m co-teaching with Joseph Blocher a seminar called Second Amendment: History, Theory, and Practice. A copy of our syllabus is available here. We just started the course yesterday and the discussion was deep, lively, and wide-ranging. I expect each week the fantastic students will bring this same level of insight and engagement to […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 1/13/20

Posted by on January 13, 2020

The new year at the Supreme Court started the same as the last one ended: silence and anticipation. The new orders released this morning held no signs of action on NYSRPA and news that the Court did not act on the cert petitions in Guedes, which challenges the Trump Administration’s ban on bump stocks, or […]

New Center for Firearms Law Research Affiliate

Posted by on January 10, 2020

The Center is happy to announce our first Research Affiliate for 2020: Kathryn Albrecht. Kat is a JD/PhD (Sociology) student at Northwestern. We are extremely happy to have Kat as a Center Research Affiliate and look forward to sharing more of her work in this space. Below is her bio – and you can check […]

Caetano’s Erasure

Posted by on January 8, 2020

Open any of the myriad of news articles discussing New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, and you are likely to find descriptions of the case as “[t]he first gun rights case at the U.S. Supreme Court in a decade,” or something like that. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, […]

AALS Hot Topic Panel on the Second Amendment and the Future of Heller

Posted by on January 6, 2020

(Photo Credit: Nora V. Demleitner) This past Saturday, the Center was fortunate to organize a hot topic panel discussion at the Association of American Law Schools Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. We used NYSRPA as a jumping off point to talk about open issues in Second Amendment law and scholarship. The main themes the speakers […]

The Year Ahead in Firearms Law and the Second Amendment

Posted by on January 2, 2020

Before looking forward to the big cases, issues, and expectations for the year ahead in firearms law, we’d like to highlight the Center for Firearms Law’s achievements this past year. After launching in February, we hosted a roundtable discussion with historians of English and Irish history, held the first ever Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop, and […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 12/30/19

Posted by on December 30, 2019

At the close of the year of the first Second Amendment cert grant in nearly a decade (setting Caetano aside), there are half a dozen petitions that have been discussed at conference and are awaiting the Court’s resolution of NYSRPA. That resolution could come next week, or it could take another 6 months. But one […]

Does the Number of Guns Matter?

Posted by on December 26, 2019

A pair of recent reports address the number of firearms being manufactured and already in circulation: one from the ATF (a 2019 AFME report/update on manufactured, imported, and exported guns for 2017), which, along with previous ATF annual reports, furnished part of the basis for an industry annual report published by the National Shooting Sports […]

NYSRPA Discussion with Nina Totenberg

Posted by on December 23, 2019

Two weeks ago, the Center was fortunate to host an event in Washington, D.C. on the oral arguments in NYSRPA. Like much of the commentary on this blog, and from Center leadership in media outlets, the focus was both on the signals from NYSRPA about the current justices’ approach to Second Amendment questions and about […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 12/23/19

Posted by on December 23, 2019

Another relatively quiet week on the Court’s gun docket. Two cases became fully briefed: Guedes which concerns the Trump Administration’s bump stock ban, and Worman, which concerns Massachusetts’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Guedes was distributed for conference in January, but Worman has not yet been scheduled for conference. (Lastly, I’ll just note […]

Guns and Lattes: Lethal Analogies and the Future of the Second Amendment

Posted by on December 20, 2019

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, the first gun case to reach the high court in almost a decade, gun rights advocates pushed their conception of the scope of the right in a novel direction.  The city regulation being challenged in the case restricted New […]

More on Text, History, and Tradition and NYSRPA

Posted by on December 18, 2019

Much of the oral argument in NYSRPA v. New York City dealt with mootness: whether there was even a case or controversy before the court, as required by Article III of the United States Constitution.   But someday, whether in NYSRPA or some other case, the Court will have to address the question of which method […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 12/16/19

Posted by on December 17, 2019

After all the excitement the last few weeks, it has been quiet at the Court for gun cases. No new petitions were filed this week, and we’ve seen no more movement on any of the pending ones. It also seems that NYSRPA is more than likely going to take a few more weeks or months, […]

New Decision in a (Very) Old Case: City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp

Posted by on December 13, 2019

On November 26, the Indiana Supreme Court denied review in an important case regarding tort liability for gun manufacturers and the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA): City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp. The latest ruling leaves in place a Court of Appeals decision from last May, which in turn means […]

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