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January 6, 2009

"The New Second Amendment: A Bark Worse Than Its Right"

I just noticed this notable new commentary, with the same title of this post, by UCLA Law Prof Adam Winkler noting the consistent pattern of lower court rulings after Heller.  Here are snippets:

As many legal scholars predicted, the Supreme Court's [Heller] decision led to a tidal wave of Second Amendment challenges to gun control. Every person charged with a gun crime saw the Supreme Court's decision as a Get Out of Jail Free Card.

To date, the lower federal courts have ruled in over 60 different cases on the constitutionality of a wide variety of gun control laws. There have been suits against laws banning possession of firearms by felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. The courts have ruled on the constitutionality of laws prohibiting particular types of weapons, including sawed-off shotguns and machine guns, and specific weapons attachments. Defendants have challenged laws barring guns in school zones and post offices, and laws outlawing "straw" purchases, the carrying of concealed weapons, possession of an unregistered firearm, and particular types of ammunition.

The courts have upheld every one of these laws. Since Heller, its Gun Control: 60, Individual Right: 0.

I am very pleased someone else is noticing that lower courts so have have been consistently willing and eager to uphold any and every modern gun control law despite all the sturm und drang about the Heller ruling.  However, I remain disappointed that all the interest groups, politicians and academics so focused on Heller as it was making it was to the Supreme Court seem largely disinterested in seriously working through all of its important practical implications. 

As detailed here and here, well over 70 interest groups had the time, money and energy to file amicus briefs in an effort to influence the Supreme Court's work in Heller.  To my knowledge, few if any of these groups have invested one whit of time, money and energy toward helping a variety of federal defendants who now have a variety of really good arguments that their charges or sentences are now constitutional questionable after Heller.

Some related Second Amendment posts:

January 6, 2009 at 11:14 AM | Permalink


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