Month: November 2019

SCOTUS Gun Watch, Episode 4

The big news from this week is that the Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case arising from the Sandy Hook massacre—Remington v. Soto. As I’ve written about (here and here), the Court might have been concerned about vehicle issues with the petition. The petition raised a question about whether the federal law immunizing gun manufacturers in most situations, the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, applied to these facts. Because the case came up from an interlocutory ruling, there was some question about the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction. But, in any event, the case may now proceed through discovery and to trial. More surprising to me than the fact that the Court denied review was the fact that there was no noted dissent from the denial.

I’ve also added one more case to the chart: Pennsylvania v. Hicks. The petition was filed a little over a month ago, but I didn’t initially include it because firearms are only tangentially involved. But, because it raises a question about how the presence of firearms affects law enforcement’s ability to conduct investigatory stops, and with increasingly loosened restrictions on public carry, I thought it worth keeping an eye on.

We also have our first briefing deadline extended into the New Year, ensuring that 2020 will bring just as much debate over guns as 2019 did.

Public Carry and Collective Action

As Michael S. Green wrote just after Heller was decided, a principal purpose of gun regulation, especially with respect to public carry, is to head off prisoner’s dilemmas.   Prisoner’s dilemmas are familiar problems in the literature on collective action, and typically take the following form:  Each individual acting in his or her own best interest makes everyone is worse off.

Domestic Violence and the Home: Hard Questions for the Second Amendment

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as Jake noted in his post earlier this week, the Center fortunately had a chance to help coordinate a well-attended event on the topic, which was co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Coalition Against Gendered Violence, the Human Rights Law Society, the International Law Society, and the Women Law Students Association. The breadth of the sponsorship and positive response to the event were appropriate, since there is broad support for the wisdom and constitutionality of laws targeting the link between firearms and domestic violence (DV). Such laws are politically popular, and have been overwhelmingly upheld against Second Amendment challenges.

SCOTUS Gun Watch, Episode 3

Last week was another relatively quiet week on the gun docket. A few briefing deadlines were extended, and we got one new firearms-related cert petition this week in a case seeking GVR (grant, vacate, and remand; a form of summarily sending a case back to the lower court to consider in light of a recent Supreme Court case or other intervening change in law). That case argues GVR is warranted in light of last term’s Rehaif decision requiring the government to prove that an individual prohibited from possessing guns knew the status that made his possession unlawful (here, his particular immigration status).

One highlight for the week: the case arising from the Sandy Hook massacre—Remington v. Soto—which I’ve written about a couple of times (here and here), goes to its first conference this Friday. It’s possible, though unlikely, that we’ll hear news about the Court’s decision to hear the case or not in the orders coming next Tuesday after the conference. (Monday’s a federal holiday next week, so no orders then.) It’s more likely we’ll have to wait a little longer if the Court is inclined to hear the case as the Court increasingly relies on the practice of relisting a case for multiple conferences in the event it’s going to grant review.

Panel on Guns and Domestic Violence: U.S. & International Human Rights Law Perspectives

On October 14, the Center co-hosted a panel with distinguished speakers for a discussion on the role of firearms in domestic violence situations. The speakers recounted some truly disturbing statistics: about 4.5 million women have been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner; almost a million women have been shot or shot at by a partner; and a woman is five times more likely to be killed in a domestic violence situation if the abuser has access to a gun. The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women has highlighted this research that has shown that “the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations significantly increases the risk of homicide, endangering victims, other family members, bystanders and coworkers.” Center faculty co-director Darrell Miller facilitated the insightful discussion.