WUNC’s Adhiti Bandlamudi has a terrific new article called “On The Edge of Suburbia: Where Noise Pollution and Gun Rights Collide,” which is part of the broader Guns & America series. (Darrell Miller and I were interviewed and are quoted in the story, but you should read it anyway.)
On Thursday, in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Supreme Court held that a Latin cross installed over ninety years ago on public land to commemorate fallen World War I soldiers did not violate the Establishment Clause. In doing so, Justice Alito, writing for the plurality, shied away from the much-criticized Lemon test and instead opted for “a presumption of constitutionality for longstanding monuments, symbols, and practices” that have religious connotations.
Jake Charles’ post yesterday noted that a great many foundational cases in the constitutional curriculum—Lopez, Printz, Curtiss-Wright, and Cruikshank, to name a few—involve gun laws. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re best understood as firearms law cases, or that the subject matter of the laws had much to do with the constitutional holdings (though perhaps in Curtiss-Wright it did). But Jake’s post does help illustrate some of the ways in which firearms law intersects with other areas of doctrine, even if does so sub silentio.
In February, the Charleston Law Review hosted a symposium on “The Second Amendment 228 Years Later.” Papers from that symposium were just recently published to Westlaw. Unfortunately, I don’t see the articles publicly available for free, except for those on SSRN, but below I’ll post the citations for this interesting set of papers to come out of that Symposium.
As this blog highlighted last week, the Seventh Circuit in Kanter v. Barr rejected a fraudster’s attempt to have the court declare 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), the felon dispossession statute, unconstitutional as applied to him. It did the same thing last Thursday in Hatfield v. Barr. But did it also upend its normal inquiry?
“Second Amendment sanctuary counties”—counties that refuse to enforce state regulation of firearms—represent the latest skirmish in the seemingly interminable debates over gun policy in America; debates that, more often than not, break along geographical, cultural, and political lines: urban versus rural; blue versus red.
In a sign that litigants are hoping the changed composition of the Supreme Court—Justice Kavanaugh’s replacement of Justice Kennedy—will lead to reconsideration of some lower court Second Amendment precedents, plaintiffs recently brought a lawsuit challenging Maryland’s requirement that an applicant for a concealed carry permit show a “good and substantial reason” in order to obtain one.
In Heller, McDonald, and now potentially in NYSRPA, the Supreme Court established Second Amendment principles that have been the basis for more than 1,000 Second Amendment challenges in the past ten years. Notably, each of the Supreme Court’s cases involved an outlier law—DC and Chicago were the only notable US cities with handgun bans, and New York’s law is such an oddity that the city itself has effectively disclaimed any interest in it.
The Supreme Court in January agreed to hear its first Second Amendment challenge after a decade of (relative) silence. But other than New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York (NYSRPA), there are—by my count—five other pending petitions asking the Court to review lower courts’ Second Amendment (or related firearms) rulings, with more likely to join in the coming months.