Prominent Conservatives Back Letting States Limit Guns in Public

Prominent Conservatives Back Letting States Limit Guns in Public

WASHINGTON — When the Supreme Court hears a major Second Amendment case on Wednesday, many expect that the court’s recently expanded conservative majority will be poised to strike down the New York law under review, one that imposes strict limits on carrying guns outside the home. But a brief filed by a group of prominent conservative lawyers and former government officials in Republican administrations has complicated that picture. Drawing on originalism, the interpretive method embraced by the conservative legal movement, the brief argued that “the original understanding of the Second Amendment was that there is not an absolute, unfettered right to carry loaded guns in public.” J. Michael Luttig, a former federal appeals court judge revered by conservatives, was among the lawyers who filed the brief. He said the issue was straightforward. “When you look at the history and tradition, spanning six or seven centuries, you indisputably find that public carry of guns has been variously prohibited and regulated throughout the entire time,” he said in an interview. “New York’s statute, and the statutes in other states that are its equivalent, fit very comfortably within the history and tradition of firearm regulation.” Looking to history is a central feature of originalism, the method of interpreting the Constitution that seeks to determine its original public meaning. Other lawyers who signed the brief included Peter D. Keisler , a former acting attorney general in the George W. Bush administration; John B. Bellinger III , a top State Department and White House […]

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