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.
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?
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.