The Second Amendment allows for more gun control than you think

The Second Amendment allows for more gun control than you think

Ten years ago, when a divided Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment includes a right to individual possession of firearms, dissenting justice John Paul Stevens lamented that it was “a law-changing decision” that would cause “a major upheaval.” Heller is a landmark case in many ways, not least of which for Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion, one of his most-discussed and most-quoted. But a close look at decisions over the past decade indicates that the case has not revolutionized judicial treatment of gun laws in quite the way that Stevens and others might have feared, or that gun rights supporters might have hoped. Some gun rights advocates have suggested that that’s because lower courts have been thumbing their nose at Scalia’s opinion in an act of massive resistance akin to the South’s refusal to desegregate after Brown v. Board of Higher Education . But Scalia’s opinion made clear that the decision would leave untouched many “longstanding prohibitions” on the use of guns. In practice, courts have concluded that these prohibitions and others like them pass constitutional muster. Our research confirms, as other research has suggested, that most Second Amendment claims fail. We also find that most fail precisely because of limitations that Heller itself places on the right to bear arms. This finding has new relevance as Americans debate yet another school shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas. Many politicians, advocates, and commentators have suggested that the Second Amendment prohibits further […]

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