Contagion and Partisan Federalism

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 “backup” – then a week later says that his authority as President is “total” and he can unilaterally order the economy to reopen.  Meanwhile, governors in the northeast and the west are discussing (arguably unconstitutional) multi-state pacts to coordinate a strategy for reopening.  What can we conclude about federalism during this unprecedented crisis?  Does the devolution of power enable cities and states to act decisively, or do we need more centralization so the executive can fashion a uniform response?  Is the diffusion of power a check on Presidential malfeasance and incompetence or a recipe for chaos?

Announcing a New Interview Series on Covid & Guns

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 to get their views on these issues, including questions about increasing gun sales, the potential for exacerbated gun harms, the possibility of additional benefits to ownership, and more.

We plan to post 1-2 of these videos each week for the next several weeks. They will be available on the Center’s YouTube page, as well as on the Center’s website. And we’ll also be tweeting out clips from our Twitter account (@DukeFirearmsLaw). We hope you’ll follow along!