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July 12, 2011

Does (and should) Casey Anthony now have a Second Amendment right to buy a gun?

The provocative (but still serious) question in the title of this post is inspired by this recent post on Second Amendment jurisprudence and this new ABC News report headlined "Casey Anthony Cops May Provide Her Protection When She Leaves Jail."  Consider first the start of the news report:

The police who investigated Casey Anthony for murder -- and still believe she is guilty -- said today that they are assessing the threat to her safety and may provide police protection for Anthony when she leaves jail this weekend.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings acknowledged the anger over the verdict that found Anthony not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. The fury has been directed at Anthony, her parents, the judge and the jury.  "Our intelligence section is assessing the threats," said Sgt. John Allen, who helped interrogate Anthony at Universal Studios after she admitted she had lied about working there.

"A lot of people have strong sentiments about the outcome, but no one has the right to take the law into their own hands.... I would hope people step back and, regardless of their feelings, not commit another crime," Allen said at a news conference with other members of the team that investigated Anthony.

Demings said that when Anthony, 25, leaves jail Sunday, "We will assist in her departure from those premises."  If there is an "overriding public safety need," they will escort her to her destination, the sheriff said.  He added, however, "We will not be providing any elaborate protection for Casey once she leaves."

The jury's not guilty verdict has not changed the opinion of the cops who grilled Anthony and investigated Caylee's death.  When asked whether he still believed that Anthony was guilty, Allen replied, "I certainly don't have any doubt."

Consider also the interesting reality that federal gun laws (and apparently also Florida gun laws) only prohibit gun possession by persons convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving domestic violence.  Anthony's acquittal on all felony charges and convictions only for lying to the police would apparently not prohibit her, as a matter of state and federal statutory law, from now buying a gun upon her release from jail in a few days.

But if state or federal statutory laws (or related permitting regulations) were somehow read to prevent Anthony from buying a gun, am I wrong to suggest she might still have a fundamental constitutional right to buy a gun for self protection after Heller and McDonald?  Though not precise on the Second Amendment's contours, Heller and McDonald and subsequent lower court rulings all suggest the right of personal self-defense is closely linked and related to the core of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  The ABC News story reinforces that few persons in the US may be facing personal threats comparable to Anthony (and the same story may give her reason to worry that local police are now not likely eager to take a bullet for her).

Then again, the Seventh Circuit's recent Ezell ruling (discussed here) strongly suggests that it is only "law-abiding, responsible citizens" who get the full protection of the fundamental rights safeguarded by the Second Amendment.  Notwithstanding her jury acquittal on all felony counts, the evidence presented at Anthony's trial surely established that Anthony is not a prime example of a "law-abiding, responsible citizen."  Thus, I return to the serious question in the title of this post: Does (and should) Casey Anthony now have a Second Amendment right to buy a gun?

A few related Second Amendment posts:

July 12, 2011 at 06:56 PM | Permalink


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"Does (and should) Casey Anthony now have a Second Amendment right to buy a gun?"

She doesn't need a gun. She's got duct tape.

Sorry, that was irresistable.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 12, 2011 7:31:01 PM

Plain answer, yes, she has every right to buy a gun legally, IF she passes all the other attributes of buying a gun, particularly mental capacity.

However, I would not want to be the gun dealer identified as the seller of the gun, as that would most certainly put an end to my business.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jul 12, 2011 9:16:16 PM

"Sorry, that was irresistable.

And irresponsible, and dumb and quite beneath you.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 12, 2011 9:47:52 PM

LOL maybe so anon! but it was sure a good one!

and considering it all certainly appropriate!

would be kind of like asking the boston stranger if he wanted to borrow a gun!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 12, 2011 10:14:31 PM

Anon --

Get a life.

rodsmith --

Spot on.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 13, 2011 9:21:13 AM

Actually, Bill deserves a medal.

We all know the low regard Anon has for Bill and he STILL was able to make a comment that Anon felt was "beneath" him?

That is a special talent. :-)

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 13, 2011 3:18:13 PM

TarlsQtr --

Ya gotta love commenters who appoint themselves to grade my paper, but (1) will give it an F simply because my name is on it, yet (2) won't write down their OWN name.

Far out.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 13, 2011 6:11:17 PM

good point TarlsQtr.

bill i'd be happy to grade your papers. but i seem to have lost my little red pen!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 13, 2011 8:24:42 PM

rodsmith --

Just tell me where to send the pen. Or maybe I should send a whole box -- being an ex-appellate lawyer, I tend to go ON and ON and ON.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 13, 2011 11:08:36 PM


"being an ex-appellate lawyer, I tend to go ON and ON and ON."

well that's one way to one. bore em to death and get your verdict just to get away!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 14, 2011 1:19:41 PM

Hello idiots. Casey Anthony pled guilty to felony charges related to checks she stole. She is not permitted to own a gun. Get your facts straight and act like lawyers not media morons.

Posted by: Steven M Harris | Jul 19, 2011 8:24:30 AM

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