Stephen Halbrook

Stephen Halbrook, Ph.D.

Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D.  “Stephen Halbrook is an attorney with extensive knowledge of the historical underpinnings of the Second Amendment and practical knowledge of litigating in this rapidly evolving area of law. His writings include topics as diverse as Gun Control in the Third Reich and The Founders’ Second Amendment, and he was heavily involved in Heller and McDonald.” – U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan, in Shepard v. Madigan, 2014 WL 4825592, *7 (S.D. Ill. 2014) (awarding attorney’s fees in challenge to Illinois carry ban).  See further at


Legal background and focus

Stephen Halbrook has been engaged in civil litigation and criminal defense since 1978, particularly regarding constitutional issues involving Federalism, the Second Amendment, and other Bill of Rights guarantees.  Represents firearm associations, manufacturers, importers, dealers, and owners in administrative, civil, and criminal proceedings under federal, state, and local law.    

Member of Virginia State Bar, District of Columbia Bar, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals - all circuits, other federal courts.  Testified in U.S. Senate and House Committees on numerous firearm bills and on the nominations of executive and Supreme Court nominees. 


Academic background

Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (1978); Florida State University, Ph.D. Philosophy (1972).  Assistant Professor of Philosophy 1972-81, George Mason University, Howard University, Tuskegee University.  Senior Fellow, The Independent Institute.    


Supreme Court cases won

Argued Castillo v. U.S., 530 U.S. 120 (2000); Printz v. U.S., 521 U.S. 898 (1997); U.S. v. Thompson/Center Arms Co., 504 U.S. 505 (1992). Co-counsel in Small v. U.S., 544 U.S. 385 (2005), and for NRA in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010).  Counsel for amici curiae 55 Senators, the Senate President, and 250 Representatives in D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).



The Right to Bear Arms: A Constitutional Right of the People or Privilege of the Ruling Class?  (Post Hill Press 2021).  In paperback and Kindle,

Firearms Law Deskbook: Federal and State Criminal Practice (Thomson/West 2019).

Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance (2018).

Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State” (2013).  Also published in German, French, and Portuguese.

The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms (2008, new ed. 2019).  Cited in McDonald v. Chicago

Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms, 1866-1876 (1998).  New Edition: Securing Civil Rights (2010).  Cited in McDonald v. Chicago and DC v. Heller.        

That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (1984, New Ed. 2013).  Cited in Printz v. U.S.

A Right to Bear Arms: State & Federal Bills of Rights & Constitutional Guarantees (1989).          

The Swiss and the Nazis: How the Alpine Republic Survived in the Shadow of the Third Reich (2006).  Also published in German, French, and Polish.   

Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II (1998, 2003).  Also published in German, French, Italian and Polish.


Selected Articles

“Virginia’s Second Amendment Sanctuaries: Do They Have Legal Effect?”  Regent University Law Review (forthcoming).

“The Right to Bear Arms: For Me, But Not for Thee?”  43 Harvard J. Law & Pub. Policy 331 (Spring 2020).

“Federal Courts & the Second Amendment,” Essentials of Texas Firearms Law 51 ( State Bar of Texas, 2020).

“Firearm Sound Moderators: Issues of Criminalization & the Second Amendment,” 46:1 Cumberland L. Rev. 33 (2016).

“Reality Check: The ‘Assault Weapon’ Fantasy and Second Amendment Jurisprudence,” 14 Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy 47 (2016).

“The Right to Bear Arms in Texas,” 41 Baylor Law Review 629 (1989).

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