Gun Law after Bruen

An interview with Prof. Joseph Blocher

On June 23rd, 2022 the Supreme Court decided the landmark gun rights case New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. The case, widely seen as a win for advocates of personal gun rights, fundamentally altered the test that courts use to evaluate constitutionality under the 2nd Amendment and expanded gun rights outside of the home. Prof. Joseph Blocher of Duke Law School explains how Bruen fits into the evolving Second Amendment doctrine. 

In Bruen, Justice Thomas writing for the majority knocks down New York's concealed carry law and along with it calls into question laws in other states where significant discretion is given to the state in determining whether they may issue a permit. As Prof. Blocher explains, the case replaces the two-part Second Amendment test previously used by the nation's circuit courts of appeals in favor of a new test focused on historical tradition – the text, history, and tradition test.  After analysis of the decision of the court as well as the concurring and dissenting opinions in the case, Blocher explores the impact of Bruen on laws and individuals across the nation.


  • Attorney CLE accreditation 

Cases and Law Discussed

NYSRPA v. Bruen

 

Additional Cases Discussed

  • District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)  Established the personal 2nd Amendment right and struck down a law banning the keeping of guns in the home. 
  • United States v. Miller (1939) The possession of a sawed-off double barreled shotgun is not protected by the 2nd Amendment since it has no reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well-regulated militia
  • Heller v. D.C. (2011) Utilized two-part test developed by lower courts after Heller (2008). Justice Kavanaugh filed a dissent, advocating for the test of text, history, and tradition later adopted in Bruen.  
  • McDonald v. Chicago (2010) Through the 14th Amendment, the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms is applicable to states
  • United States v. Class (2018) Guns can be restricted on the grounds of the United States Capitol.
  • Bonidy v. Brady Center (2015) Guns can be restricted at the post office or in the post office parking lot.
  • Kanter v. Barr (2019) Laws that bar felons from obtaining firearms do not violate the 2nd Amendment since they are related to a substantial government interest

 

Law Discussed

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

              –Second Amendment to the United States Constitution 

 

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