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Local Immigration Non-enforcement and Local Gun Deregulation

Posted by on May 14, 2020

In the past year, localities have been causing quite a stir by declaring themselves “sanctuaries.” But unlike the sanctuaries that grabbed headlines in the 1980’s, and then again in the post-9/11 crackdown on foreigners, or the ones that continue to draw the ire of President Trump, this recent trend isn’t about immigration enforcement. Instead, cities […]

Do Local Governments Have Second Amendment Rights?

Posted by and on May 13, 2020

The city is an increasingly common site of contestation for the right to keep and bear arms. Historically, much of gun regulation has been local, such as laws preventing the carrying of firearms into courthouses and schools or requiring that individuals obtain a license or provide a particular reason to carry a weapon.  As a […]

The Two Sides of Sanctuary

Posted by on May 12, 2020

A new sanctuary movement is sweeping the country.  No, I am not talking about immigration sanctuaries, which have more and less been proliferating since the 1980s.  Rather, I am talking about the emergence of Second Amendment sanctuaries, focused on protecting the right to keep and bear arms, and which have been adopted by more than […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/11/20

Posted by on May 11, 2020

The Court has now distributed the outstanding gun cases for its May 15 conference. That means we have 11 Second Amendment cases being discussed this Friday. We could hear next Monday morning, when the Court releases its order list, if the justices are inclined to take up one or more of these cases. There’s no […]

Contagion and Partisan Federalism

Posted by on May 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a proving ground for federalism, or at least for takes about federalism.  Mayors shut down beaches and then are overruled by governors.  Governors request vital medical supplies from the federal stockpile but the President refuses, saying that states have primary responsibility for the crisis and the federal government is a […]

Targeting Community Character

Posted by on May 7, 2020

A municipality’s community character is often now defined, at least in part, by its relationship to the Second Amendment. Some localities, like the newly self-labelled “Second Amendment Sanctuaries,” define themselves by their intense attraction to firearms and devotion to an unconstrained Second Amendment. Other localities, like large and liberal New York City or Chicago for […]

Panel on Corpus Linguistics & the Second Amendment

Posted by on May 6, 2020

Last week, Darrell held a virtual version of an event we had planned to conduct in person: Corpus Linguistics, Constitutional Interpretation, and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Here’s the event description: Constitutional interpretation has increasingly turned to history and a close reading of the text to decipher meaning. Scholars have begun mining newly […]

“Sanctuary” and Local Government Law

Posted by on May 6, 2020

“Sanctuary city”, Wikipedia tells us, “refers to municipal jurisdictions, typically in North America, that limit their cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce immigration law.” This is not an unreasonable definition. The term sanctuary city first came into modern political and legal parlance in the United States in the 1980s when a handful of […]

Announcing a New Interview Series on Covid & Guns

Posted by on May 5, 2020

As we’ve previously talked about on this blog, the coronavirus pandemic has raised several questions about firearms law and the Second Amendment (see here, here, here, and here). To broaden the perspective about these unique circumstances, we’re launching a video series on Covid & Guns. In this special series, we interview experts in different fields […]

Second Amendment Sanctuaries and the Difference Between Home Rule, Local Recalcitrance, and Interposition

Posted by on May 5, 2020

On the day I began writing this post, the Governor of Virginia signed into law a number of state-wide gun control measures passed by a newly Democratic General Assembly. For decades, that body had been dominated by Republicans, who had resisted strengthening gun regulations despite recent mass shootings and the shocking images of white supremacists […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/4/20

Posted by on May 4, 2020

The Court considered the ten pending Second Amendment cases at its conference last Friday, but we did not get any more clarity this morning when it released the orders from that conference. It did not act on any of the pending petitions, instead holding them over to consider at another conference. We’ve also got one […]

Colloquium on Localism, Popular Constitutionalism, Preemption, and Firearms

Posted by on May 4, 2020

At the end of April, the Center for Firearms Law was delighted to host a colloquium on the topic of Localism, Popular Constitutionalism, Preemption, and Firearms.   Veterans of state and local government law and constitutional law,  as well as new voices, all convened (via Zoom) for a wide-ranging discussion on the intersections between local regulation, […]

The Futility of Originalist Analysis in Second Amendment Cases

Posted by on May 1, 2020

In his dissent to the Supreme Court’s dismissal of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York on grounds of mootness, Justice Alito wrote the following about the merits of the case: “neither the City, the courts below, nor any of the many amici supporting the City have shown that municipalities […]

McGinnis and the Dubitante Opinion

Posted by on April 28, 2020

Last week Jake highlighted this Fifth Circuit opinion, United States v. McGinnis, in which Eric McGinnis raised a Second Amendment defense to his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) for possession of a firearm while subject to a domestic violence protective order.  Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan applied the two-part framework for Second Amendment challenges that […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/27/20

Posted by on April 28, 2020

The big news this week is that we have the Supreme Court’s opinion in NYSRPA. Check out our quick reactions on the decision and stay tuned for more analysis. In the meantime, the cases the Supreme Court was holding for NYSRPA have now all been distributed for this Friday’s conference. We may know by next […]

Quick Reactions to the NYSRPA Opinion

Posted by on April 27, 2020

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. The case concerned a New York City rule that forbid individuals with a premises license from transporting their firearms to shooting ranges and second homes outside the City. The City repealed the rule […]

Litigation Highlight – U.S. v. McGinnis

Posted by on April 24, 2020

Earlier this week, in United States v. McGinnis, a Fifth Circuit panel upheld 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) against a Second Amendment challenge. That provision prohibits a person subject to certain types of restraining orders from possessing guns or ammunition while the order is in effect. With this decision, the Fifth joins a chorus of other […]

Analyzing Ramos Through a Second Amendment Lens

Posted by on April 21, 2020

In a fractured decision on Monday in Ramos v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court held that (1) the Sixth Amendment requires unanimous jury verdicts, and (2) that standard applies equally to the states. Reaching this ruling required the Court to discard a 1972 case, Apodaca v. Oregon, in which another fractured Court had concluded that states […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/20/20

Posted by on April 20, 2020

We continue to have quiet on the Court’s gun docket, but it did issue three other opinions this week and announced that it may issue more on Thursday, so the Court’s active. Today the Court also asked for a response in Rodriguez v. San Jose, which challenges a warrantless search/seizure of firearms. “A Supreme Court […]

Covid Gun Litigation Roundup

Posted by on April 17, 2020

There’s been a lot litigation over emergency orders and gun rights in the weeks since we’ve last tackled the issues on this blog. A lot of that litigation dropped off as states that faced the initial wave of lawsuits, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, modified their orders without any court direction. In fact, Pennsylvania changed […]


Posted by on April 15, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is altering the legal landscape. Emergency orders in many states are facing mounting pressure from civil libertarians and interested litigants. One challenge went all the way to the Supreme Court, but was defused before the justices had to weigh in. There’s no doubt that the Supreme Court’s operations are affected by the […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/13/20

Posted by on April 13, 2020

No new action at the Court on gun cases in the past week. The Court did announce that it will be hearing arguments telephonically in May, so it’s moving ahead with at least some of its business. We’ll keep our eyes out on the week ahead.

Waiting to Exercise A Fundamental Right

Posted by on April 10, 2020

Brian Frye & Maybell Romero’s new (and endearing) draft, The Right to Unmarry: A Proposal, argues that, “waiting periods, even if well-intended, place a substantial burden on the right to unmarry in a paternalistic and infantilizing fashion.” Similar arguments are made about waiting periods to purchase firearms, though courts have upheld them against Second Amendment […]

The Black Panthers, NRA, Ronald Reagan, Armed Extremists, and the Second Amendment

Posted by on April 8, 2020

In 1967, California codified into law A.B 1591, otherwise known at the Mulford Act.  Sponsored by Oakland assemblyman Don Mulford, A.B. 1591 made it a felony to publicly carry any firearm—either openly or concealed—in public places without a governmental license to do so.  The law came about after the events of May 2, 1967, when […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/6/20

Posted by on April 6, 2020

No new action at the Court on gun cases in the past week or in the orders and opinions issued this morning. We’ll keep our eyes out on the week ahead.