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Section One

Second Amendment Litigation: Ongoing Challenges

Second Amendment challenges are ongoing with four types of firearm prohibitions. First, mere possession of any type of firearm is banned without compliance with onerous registration requirements. Second, mere possession of firearms pejoratively called "assault weapons," aka commonly-possessed rifles, is banned outright. Third, the carrying of handguns outside of the home is banned other than as licensed to a select few. Fourth, persons with legal disabilities stemming from criminal records and mental commitments in the distant past may be prohibited from possession of any firearm for life. How are these challenges being decided, and will the Supreme Court intervene?

STEPHEN P. HALBROOK, Ph.D.
Attorney at Law/Author

Constitutional Overview of the Second Amendment

The Supreme Court's jurisprudence of the Second Amendment remains very undeveloped, and the Court has already signaled that it may be unwilling to embrace robust protections for the right to keep and bear arms. An understanding of the right to keep and bear arms should not focus exclusively, or even primarily, on technical issues involving the interpretation of Supreme Court precedent. That right is central to the political order handed down to us by our forebears, and it is more important than ever for lawyers to understand why it was put into the Bill of Rights.

PROFESSOR NELSON LUND
George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School