#28: A Second Look At The Second Amendment

Table of Contents

A Second Look At The Second Amendment

The Founding Generation

21st Century Law Regarding Gun Regulation

Ignoring The Bill of Rights for Blacks or Indians

Second Amendment Litigation History

The Limits of Second Amendment Originalism and the Constitutional Case For Gun Control (2015)

The Second Amendment Standard of Review After McDonald Historical Guideposts

The Missing Arguments in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010)

The Business of Guns (2018)

End The Popularity Contest

A Proposal For Second Amendment “TYPE OF WEAPON” Analysis (2015)

This Powder Keg Is About To Explode

The Lack of Standards In Reviewing Second Amendment Cases (2017)

An Unstable Core

Self-defense And the Second Amendment (2020)

Second Amendment Sanctuaries (2020)

The Right Not to Keep or Bear Arms (2012)

Speaking Truth to Firepower

How the First Amendment Destabilizes the Second (2012)

Securing Gun Rights By Statute

The Right To Keep and Bear Arms Outside the Constitution (2022)

The Faces Of The Second Amendment Outside The Home

Take Two

How We Got Here And Why It Matters (2016)

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

The Second Amendment Guarantee

For The Previously Mentally Institutionalized (2017)

Knives And The Second Amendment (2013)

Raising The Red Flag

Examining The Constitutionality of Extreme Risk Laws (2021)

Is Your Shotgun Sporting? (2013)

How Can You Ban What Doesn’t Exist?

Redefining The “Assault Weapon”  (2020)

Good Guys and Good Reasons

Addressing the Constitutionality of Good Reason Right-To-Carry Regulations

and the Failures of the “Good Guy with a Gun” Theory (2018)

A Fighting Chance for Outlaws

Strict Scrutiny of North Carolina’s Felony Firearms Act (2010)

Symposium —The Second Amendment At The Supreme Court

“700 Years Of History and The Modern Effects of Guns In Public” (2022)

Survey Of Books Related To The Law

Friedman: “The Will Of The People”

How Public Opinion Has Influenced The Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning Of The Constitution 

But How Will The People Know?

Public Opinion As A Meager Influence In Shaping Contemporary Supreme Court Decision Making (2011)

Constitutional Amendment Process

Gun Control, Explained

A Quick Guide To The Debate Over Gun Legislation In The United States (2023)

Gun Control Attacked by NRA

Washington State’s New Gun Control Law

The Future Of Gun Control Legislation in the Post Keller Era

Gun Control By The ATF—Costs & Programs

The Economic Cost of Gun Violence

The Data Buried in Gun Deaths

Men & Guns

Rural vs. Urban Settings for Gun Violence

Gun Violence and People Of Color

Fourteen Ways to Prevent Gun Violence

Doing Less Harm

Executive Order on Reducing Gun Violence and Making Our Communities Safer

March 14, 2023—The White House

Wrong Place—Wrong Time—Senseless Shootings

But For The Presence Of A Gun

Finis

The title above does not belong to me. It is the title on at least ten other essays, articles, rants, raves, op-eds, and never-minds. 

  1. “A Second Look At The Second Amendment” By Nat Hentoff. March 9, 1996—The Washington Post[1]
  2. “A Second Look at the Second Amendment”  By Special Guest. October 27, 2022—The Havok Journal[2]
  3. “A Second Look at the Second Amendment”  By Leif Jonasson. March 8, 2018[3]
  4. “A Second Look at the Second Amendment” By Cary Ichter. Updated on March 08, 2018[4]
  5. “Taking a Second Look at the Second Amendment and Modern Gun Control Laws” By David E. Johnson[5]
  6. “Taking a Second Look—Truth, Tools & Triumphs” Author Undisclosed.[6]
  7. “The Second Amendment and Gun Control”  By Erwin Chemerinsky, February 2013.[7]
  8. “Time To Revisit The Second Amendment?”  By Richard Johanson, Updated December 8, 2015.[8]
  9. “A Second Look At The Second Amendment” By Sean Barry, October 7, 2016.[9]
  10. “Taking a Second for a Second Look at the Second Amendment” by John White, April 25, 2018.[10]

At the very least, thinking or writing about taking a second look at a constitutional amendment requires a review of why the amendment passed legal muster in the first place. The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments to the US Constitution guarantee the freedoms of speech, assembly, and worship. These rights were part of the English constitutional settlement of 1689, confirming the deposition of James II and the accession of William and Mary, guaranteeing the Protestant succession, and laying down the principles of parliamentary supremacy.[11]

It Is Important to recall that first look was a constitutional check on congressional power. The Second Amendment was envisioned by the framers of the Constitution, as the “True palladium of liberty. In addition to checking federal power, the Second Amendment also provided state governments with what Luther Martin described as the ‘last coup de grace’ that would enable the states ‘to thwart and oppose the general government.’ Last, it enshrined the ancient Florentine and Roman constitutional principle, civil and military virtue, by making every citizen a soldier and every soldier a citizen.”[12]

The Founding Generation

Many in the Founding Generation believed that governments are prone to use soldiers to oppress the people. English history suggested that this risk could be controlled by permitting the government to raise armies, consisting of full-time paid troops only when needed to fight foreign adversaries. For other purposes, such as responding to sudden invasions or other emergencies, the government could rely on a militia that consisted of ordinary civilians who supplied their own weapons and received some part-time, unpaid military training.[13]

Arguably, the current debate over gun control is a failure to recognize how much America has changed since 1791. Today there is no authorized or unauthorized traditional militia. That notion, a militia,  disappeared as modern law enforcement took on the task of enforcing the law. To the extent they existed in the 1800s, state-based militia organizations were morphed into federal military services. The 21st century reality is that we have a military establishment that is enormously more powerful than eighteenth century armies. “We still hear political rhetoric about federal tyranny, but most Americans do not fear the nation’s armed forces and virtually no one thinks that an armed populace could defeat those forces in battle. Furthermore, eighteenth century civilians routinely kept at home the very same weapons they would need if called to serve in the militia, while modern soldiers are equipped with weapons that differ significantly from those generally thought appropriate for civilian uses. Civilians no longer expect to use their household weapons for militia duty, although they still keep and bear arms to defend against common criminals, as well as for hunting and other forms of recreation.”[14]

21st Century Law Regarding Gun Regulation

States in the Founding era regulated guns. They regulated African Americans by prohibiting them from possessing guns. Militia weapons were frequently registered on government rolls. But the most significant change from the 1700s was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Amendment originally applied only to the federal government, leaving the states to regulate weapons as they saw fit. Although there is substantial evidence that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms from infringement by the states, the Supreme Court rejected this interpretation in United States v. Cruikshank in 1875.

Cruikshank was a major decision of the United States Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. Bill of Rights did not limit the power of private actors or state governments despite the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. It reversed the federal criminal convictions for the civil rights violations committed in aid of anti-Reconstruction murders. Decided during the Reconstruction Era, the case represented a major defeat for federal efforts to protect the civil rights of African Americans.[15]

Ignoring The Bill of Rights for Blacks or Indians

The Bill of Rights had little judicial impact for the first 150 years of its existence; in the words of Gordon S. Wood, “After ratification, most Americans promptly forgot about the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The Court made no important decisions protecting free speech rights, for example, until 1931. Historian Richard Labunski attributes the Bill’s long legal dormancy to three factors: first, it took time for a ‘culture of tolerance’ to develop that would support the Bill’s provisions with judicial and popular will; second, the Supreme Court spent much of the 19th century focused on issues relating to intergovernmental balances of power; and third, the Bill initially only applied to the federal government, a restriction affirmed by Barron v. Baltimore in 1833. In the 20th century, however, most of the Bill’s provisions were applied to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment—a process known as incorporation.”[16]

Second Amendment Litigation History

The Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms. The concept of such a right existed within English common law long before the enactment of the Bill of Rights. First codified in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, but only applied to Protestants, this right was enshrined in fundamental laws of several American states during the Revolutionary era, including the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. Long a controversial issue in American political, legal, and social discourse, the Second Amendment has been at the heart of several Supreme Court decisions.

In United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the Court ruled that “[t]he right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.”

Cruikshank’s aftermath is disgraceful. “African Americans in the South were left to the mercy of increasingly hostile state governments dominated by white Democratic legislatures; neither the legislatures, law enforcement, nor the courts worked to protect freedmen. As white Democrats regained power in the late 1870s, they struggled to suppress black Republican voting through intimidation and fraud at the polls. Paramilitary groups such as the Red Shirts acted on behalf of the Democrats to suppress black voting. In addition, from 1890 to 1908, 10 of the 11 former Confederate states passed disfranchising constitutions or amendments, with provisions for poll taxes, residency requirements, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses that effectively disfranchised most black voters and many poor white people. The disfranchisement also meant that black people could not serve on juries or hold any political office, which were restricted to voters; those who could not vote were excluded from the political system.”[17]

The Cruikshank ruling allowed groups such as the Ku Klux Klan to flourish and continue to use paramilitary force to suppress black voting. As white Democrats dominated the Southern legislatures, they ignored the violence and refused to allow African Americans any right to bear arms.[18] Actually, it was worse than it sounds today. Leonard Levy wrote in 1987, “Cruikshank paralyzed the federal government’s attempt to protect black citizens by punishing violators of their Civil Rights and, in effect, shaped the Constitution to the advantage of the Ku Klux Klan.”[19] Finally, in 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court vitiated Cruikshank in two cases; United States v. Price,[20] and United States v. Guest.[21]

In United States v. Miller (1939), the Court ruled that the amendment “[protects arms that had a] reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.”[22]

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment “codified a pre-existing right” and that it “protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” but also stated that “the right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”[23]

In McDonald v. Chicago, the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.[24]

The Limits of Second Amendment Originalism and the Constitutional Case For Gun Control (2015)

“The Second Amendment is the only provision in the Bill of Rights with a preamble: ‘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. The relationship between the Second Amendment’s preamble and its operative clause is far from obvious; yet, it has critical implications for the future of gun control. For decades, Second Amendment jurisprudence was dominated by United States v. Miller, in which the Court rejected a constitutional attack on a federal statute prohibiting the interstate transportation of a short-barrel shotgun by observing that a short-barrel shotgun has no “relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia. Lower courts generally ‘invoked Miller with vehemence and regularity in dismissing, out of hand, challenges to the various pieces of gun control legislation.

This changed with the 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Assessing the constitutionality of an ordinance banning the possession of handguns and requiring that firearms remain unloaded and disassembled or locked, the Court began by stating its interpretive methodology. ‘We are guided by the principle that the Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical meaning.’ Normal meaning may of course include an idiomatic meaning, but it excludes secret or technical meanings that would not have been known to ordinary citizens in the founding generation.

Relying on evidence of the meaning of the terms of the Second Amendment in the framing era, the Court concluded that the ‘right of the people’ referred to an individual right, while ‘Arms’ included ‘all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,’ but excluded ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ The right to keep arms, the Court concluded, meant the right to possess them, and the right to bear arms meant the right to “carry for a particular purpose – confrontation. As for the preamble, the Court concluded that it would not have been understood in the framing era to ‘limit or expand the scope of the operative clause,’ but instead merely announced the purpose for which the right was codified: to prevent elimination of the militia. As for Miller, the Court concluded that it should be understood as holding ‘only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.’ The Court then held that the right to keep and bear arms was infringed by the District’s prohibition on the registration and possession of handguns, as well as its requirement that firearms be locked or otherwise stored in an inoperable condition.” [25]

The Second Amendment Standard of Review After McDonald Historical Guideposts

The Missing Arguments in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010)

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, a narrow 5-4 plurality held that the “Second Amendment right recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller” is incorporated to the States as applied to United States citizens. The plurality was divided with Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, and Justice Kennedy joining only parts of Justice Alito’s opinion. Meanwhile, Justices Thomas and Scalia each wrote their own concurrence. What stands out is that the five Justices comprising the McDonald plurality were the same five Justices that decided the majority opinion in Heller. Unlike the unified Heller majority, the McDonald plurality was divided as to how the Second Amendment should be incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment. While Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito incorporated Heller right through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, Justice Thomas incorporated it through the Privileges or Immunities Clause.

This division is significant in many respects. Perhaps what is most important is that the voting paradox effectively limited incorporation to the right recognized in Heller–the right of armed, individual self-defense of the home with a handgun—to citizens, for Justice Thomas’s concurrence states: ‘I conclude that the right to keep and bear arms applies to the States through the Privileges or Immunities Clause, which recognizes the rights of United States “citizens.” The plurality concludes that the right applies to the States through the Due Process Clause, which covers all “person[s].” Because this case does not involve a claim brought by a noncitizen, I express no view on the difference between my conclusion and the plurality’s with respect to the extent to which the States may regulate firearm possession by noncitizens.

Whether aliens, lawfully present, undocumented or both, have a constitutional right to arms is just one of the many legal issues left unanswered by the McDonald opinion. Another unsettled issue involves any clarification as to a standard of review for Heller’s longstanding regulatory prohibitions. The opinions of Justices Alito and Thomas merely recite Heller’s constitutional presumption as to traditional regulatory “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” and “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sales of arms.” Any hope that a more expansive Second Amendment would be identified was dashed when every plurality opinion merely incorporated the limited right recognized in Heller–nothing more. Not even Heller’s brief mention of the importance of bearing arms to hunt was restated as dicta and the prefatory language well-regulated militia did not appear once in the five Justice plurality.

The McDonald decision did little to change the legal landscape of gun rights as we know them other than preventing state and municipal governments from having outright bans on handgun possession in the home. This begets the question, What other Second Amendment protections will be extended, and what is the constitutional standard of review by which future courts may extend them? Surprisingly, the answer to this question rests with the courts using historical guideposts. While the plurality shunned historical academia in examining the constitutional scope of the right to keep and bear arms, it ironically affirmed that much of this same history will aid courts in carving out future Second Amendment protections.”[26]

The Business of Guns (2018)

Does the Second Amendment protect commerce in firearms? “The simple answer is yes, to an extent. An individual’s right to possess and use a gun for self-defense in the home is black-letter law after District of Columbia v. Heller. The right to possess and use a gun requires the ability to obtain a gun, ammunition, and firearms training. Therefore, gun dealers, servicers, and training providers receive some constitutional protection as facilitators of their customers’ Second Amendment rights. Whether these constitutional rights belong to firearms-related businesses independently of their customers is unclear. The scope of the Second Amendment matters as recent, horrific gun violence has launched serious regulation of firearms commerce back into the spotlight. These regulations are constantly challenged and must be adjudicated using the precious little guidance the Supreme Court has provided.

Federal circuits have coalesced around a two-part Firearms Commerce Test to evaluate laws regulating firearms businesses. First, courts determine if the challenged law burdens conduct protected by the Second Amendment. Second, courts apply some level of heightened scrutiny. The Firearms Commerce Test is widely accepted. It is simple to understand and execute. The results it produces are consistent, fair, and useful. In fact, chances are good that the Supreme Court adopts the test as a national standard when it hears its first firearms commerce case. Even with these positive attributes, the test could and should function more optimally.

This article argues that the test could be more efficient, effective, and faithful to Heller with two substantive modifications. First, courts should assume at step one that the Second Amendment is implicated. This approach is much better than the scavenger hunt through history courts now employ to answer this question. Second, judges should uniformly apply a tougher form of intermediate scrutiny at step two that requires the government to provide evidence that the law is effective (i.e., substantially related to an important government interest). This stricter level of review would ferret out the effective gun regulations from the rest and protect this often-unpopular constitutional right. This article argues that the vast majority of gun regulations will and should still be upheld because the government always has a compelling interest in reducing crime and protecting the public. With that huge advantage, however, officials must demonstrate that their law actually promotes these noble goals.”[27]

End The Popularity Contest

A Proposal For Second Amendment “TYPE OF WEAPON” Analysis (2015)

“The Supreme Court’s recognition in District of Columbia v. Heller of an individual Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense raised many questions about the scope of that right. One issue that will become increasingly important in the years ahead, but that has received relatively little attention from scholars and courts, is the question of which “arms” are protected by that right. Heller purports to establish a test that asks whether the weapon at issue is in “common use” at the time the case is decided. This Article critiques that test, arguing that it creates poor incentives, is difficult to apply, and, most importantly, is disconnected from the central component of the Second Amendment right–self-defense. This Article proposes an alternative test that asks whether the weapon at issue is a reasonable choice for armed self-defense.”[28]

This Powder Keg Is About To Explode

The Lack of Standards In Reviewing Second Amendment Cases (2017)

“Every year nationwide, roughly thirty-three thousand people are killed by gunfire. Whereas thirty-five thousand people a year are killed by motor vehicles.  Despite the similar number of deaths, there is no debate or anger over the pervasive government regulation of automobiles; this reality is simply accepted as fact. 3 However, in the wake of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller,  uncertainty over how pervasively the government can regulate firearms is not uncommon. In Heller, the Court held that the District of Columbia’s firearm law is unconstitutional under all levels of scrutiny, but refrained from guiding the lower courts on which level of scrutiny should be used to determine the constitutionality of firearm laws. As a result, in the eight years since Heller, a circuit split has developed, and will continue to develop, over whether intermediate or strict scrutiny should be applied when determining whether a firearm law is constitutional.

This Comment examines the circuit split regarding which standard of review should be applied when assessing Second Amendment challenges. Several circuits have adopted a two-prong approach to resolving Second Amendment challenges. First, a “historical inquiry” is used to determine whether the challenged law burdens conduct within the scope of the Second Amendment at the time of ratification. If the conduct does not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment, then the law is valid. Upon a finding that the law does burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment, the court must apply the appropriate level of scrutiny.  If the law does not infringe on the right of self-defense in the home, courts often conclude that intermediate is the appropriate level of scrutiny.  This approach is used by a number of circuits, but the Seventh Circuit has abandoned scrutiny levels altogether in favor of an interest balancing test. 13 After analyzing the different approaches adopted by various circuits, this Comment discusses their significance. Next, this Comment examines how the Supreme Court would be likely to rule, based on their recent opinions on the subject. Finally, this Comment examines the issues surrounding the levels of scrutiny but does not attempt to advocate for the appropriate scrutiny.”[29]

An Unstable Core

Self-defense And the Second Amendment (2020)

         

“In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court announced for the first time that self-defense, not militia service, is the “core” of the right to keep and bear arms. However, the Court failed to articulate what that means for the right’s implementation. After Heller, most courts deciding Second Amendment questions have mentioned self-defense only superficially or not at all. Some courts, however, have run to the opposite extreme, leaning heavily on the platitude that firearms have utility for lawful self-defense as a rationale for effectively immunizing them from regulation. This Article examines that inconsistency and considers whether self-defense law itself could provide stability and much-needed guidance for when, how, and which weapons receive constitutional protection. This exercise finds support in both Heller and historical precedent, and offers a helpful lens through which to consider the intersection of the Second Amendment and its stated self-defense purpose. At the same time, however, it exposes a tension within Heller, calling into question whether a Second Amendment grounded in self-defense gives more protection to handguns than to less lethal alternatives.”[30]

Second Amendment Sanctuaries (2020)

“The term “sanctuary” has long expressed a sympathy for immigrants’ rights and resistance to federal immigration enforcement. Recently, the word has become associated with another divisive political topic, as local governments have begun declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” in defiance of statewide gun-control measures they deem unconstitutional. This gun-rights resistance movement not only flips the political script on the nature of sanctuaries, but also presents important and challenging questions about local and state power sharing, the proper scope of “subfederal commandeering,” and the role of coordinate branches in constitutional decision-making.

This Article provides the first scholarly treatment of Second Amendment Sanctuaries. In doing so, it explores both the unique facets of this new localism and the broader implications for sanctuary movements generally. Most early commentary dismisses Second Amendment Sanctuaries as purely symbolic and presumptively invalid pursuant to state preemption principles and the judicial supremacy model of constitutional interpretation. This Article challenges that narrative and articulates a theory of limited viability for Second Amendment Sanctuaries and other local intrastate resistance movements more broadly.”[31]

The Right Not to Keep or Bear Arms (2012)

“Sometimes a constitutional right to do a particular thing is accompanied by a right not to do that thing. The First Amendment, for example, guarantees both the right to speak and the right not to speak. This Article asks whether the Second Amendment should likewise be read to encompass both the right to keep or bear arms for self-defense and the inverse right to protect oneself by avoiding arms, and what practical implications, if any, the latter right would have. The Article concludes – albeit with some important qualifications – that a right not to keep or bear arms is implied by what the Supreme Court has called the “core” and “central component” of the Second Amendment: self-defense, especially in the home. Recognizing such a right might call into question the constitutionality of the growing number of “anti-gun control” laws that make it difficult or illegal for private individuals to avoid having guns in their actual or constructive possession.”[32]

Speaking Truth to Firepower

 How the First Amendment Destabilizes the Second (2012)

“When the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, it set atop the federal judicial agenda the critical task of elaborating the right’s scope, limits, and content. Following Heller, commentators routinely draw upon the First Amendment’s protections for expressive freedom to support their proposals for Second Amendment doctrine. In this Article, Professor Magarian advocates a very different role for the First Amendment in explicating the Second, and he contends that our best understanding of First Amendment theory and doctrine severely diminishes the Second Amendment’s legal potency. Professor Magarian first criticizes efforts to draw direct analogies between the First and Second Amendments, because the two amendments and their objects of protection diverge along critical descriptive, normative, and functional lines. He then contends that longstanding debates about whether constitutional speech protections primarily serve collectivist or individualist purposes present a useful model for interpreting the Second Amendment. The language of the Second Amendment’s preamble, which Heller all but erased from the text, compels a collectivist reading of the Second Amendment. The individual right to keep and bear arms, contrary to the Heller Court’s fixation on individual self-defense, must serve some collective interest. Many gun rights advocates have long urged that the Second Amendment serves a collective interest in deterring – and, if necessary, violently deposing – a tyrannical federal government. That theory of Second Amendment insurrectionism marks another point of contact with the First Amendment, because constitutional expressive freedom serves the conceptually similar function of protecting public debate in order to enable dynamic political change. Professor Magarian contends, however, that we should prefer debate to insurrection as a means of political change and that, in fact, the historical disparity in our legal culture’s attention to the First and Second Amendments reflects a long-settled choice of debate over insurrection. Moreover, embracing Second Amendment insurrectionism would endanger our commitment to protecting dissident political speech under the First Amendment. Professor Magarian concludes that our insights about the First Amendment leave little space for the Second Amendment to develop as a meaningful constraint on government action.”[33]

Securing Gun Rights By Statute

The Right To Keep and Bear Arms Outside the Constitution (2022)

“In popular and professional discourse, debate about the right to keep and bear arms most often revolves around the Second Amendment. But that narrow reference ignores a vast and expansive non-constitutional legal regime privileging guns and their owners. This collection of non-constitutional gun rights confers broad powers and immunities on gun owners that go far beyond those required by the Constitution, like rights to bring guns on private property against an owner’s wishes and to carry a concealed firearm in public with no training or background check. This Article catalogues this set of expansive laws and critically assesses them. Unlike the formal constitutional guarantee, this broad collection is not solely libertarian, concerned only with guaranteeing noninterference with a negative right. Instead, it is also aggressively interventionist, countermanding contrary policy judgments by employers, universities, property owners, and local government officials, conferring robust rights and privileges, and shifting the distribution of violence in society.

This Article underscores the rhetorical and legal connection between this gun-rights expansionism and the formal Second Amendment guarantee. These laws do not derive from a judicial interpretation of the scope of the Constitution, but they are expressed and advocated for in constitutional terms. The Article also highlights how broad gun rights can create unique harm to the body politic and to marginalized groups by fostering fear and mistrust and empowering sometimes-problematic private actors to proactively police their own communities. Finally, the Article shows how gun-rights expansionism influences constitutional doctrine in the context of the Second Amendment, as well as of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.”[34]  

The Faces Of The Second Amendment Outside The Home

How We Got Here And Why It Matters (2016)

“Since the late twentieth century, the Second Amendment has been increasingly promoted as the unfettered right to carry firearms in the public concourse. This expansive meaning, however, lacks historical support. Historical evidence reveals a disparity between the Anglo-American origins of armed carriage laws and present-day interpretations of the Second Amendment. The historical backdrop also reveals the impact pro-gun organizations have had on the expansion of armed carriage. Differences in state armed carriage laws, analyzed from both historical and regional perspectives, will one day require the Supreme Court to determine which version of history should dictate the meaning of the Second Amendment.”[35]

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

The Second Amendment Guarantee For The Previously Mentally Institutionalized (2017)

“Shortly after midnight on August 31, 2015, Harvey Lembo successfully defended his one-bedroom apartment from an intruder with the help of a firearm.  Harvey Lembo, a retired lobsterman, never thought he would need a gun. Lembo, who spent a large majority of his time in his motorized wheelchair, was also extremely tired of being victim to recent robberies–five times in the last six years. This is when he decided to exercise his Second Amendment rights, and purchase a firearm. He purchased a 1941 Russian-made revolver, which he kept under his pillow every night.

On the night of the incident, an awaken Lembo thought he saw his cat’s shadow running from his kitchen to his living room. Realizing the shadow was much too large to be his cat, Lembo reached under his pillow and pulled out his recently purchased firearm, got into his motorized wheelchair and came upon the intruder, Christopher Wildhaber. After exchanging words and threats, Lembo successfully fended off his intruder, shot Wildhaber in the shoulder, and called the police.

Now, imagine if Harvey Lembo, the physically challenged, aging man was denied his right to bear arms when he went to purchase a firearm. This is the reality for Clifford Tyler, who was denied the right to purchase a firearm due to a previous, short stint in a mental institution. Tyler was committed to a mental institution in 1986 due to emotional instability after his wife of twenty-three years served him with divorce papers. Tyler remained in the workforce for nineteen years after his treatment. In 2011, twenty-eight years after his institutionalization, Tyler attempted to exercise his right to bear arms and was denied because a background check revealed that he had been previously institutionalized–a prohibited class under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4).

Clifford Tyler’s story is but one example of the ban on previously institutionalized people protecting their family and home due to something that happened in the past. This restriction of the previously mentally institutionalized, along with other class prohibitions, has been the subject of much litigation and political activity. Many proponents for strict gun control laws are advocating for a legislative overhaul of the current gun laws, while those opposed to stricter gun laws believe the government is overstepping its boundaries and invading the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. Further, the prevalence of mass shootings has fueled the debate over guns and caused popular opinion to assume all those that have been previously institutionalized should be banned from owning guns. However, this is far from the truth, as many people who were once institutionalized are now productive members of society and should be granted the same fundamental rights as other Americans.

The battle over gun rights has been a long-debated subject, leading the government to enact the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993, which together created federal gun bans for certain classes of people. Theses bans have the purpose of promoting public safety and the prevention of gun-related violence. However, the broad class prohibition that lumps together the mentally ill and those who have been previously institutionalized is not effective and must be reformed.

This Comment is the first to analyze the constitutionality of the federal gun ownership prohibition under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) by applying the prohibition to all three levels of scrutiny and  showing that neither history nor public policy lends support to the prohibition on the previously mentally institutionalized. This proposition has been echoed in a recent Sixth Circuit opinion, Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department. This Comment does not argue that all broad bans on classes of people will fail judicial scrutiny, but rather brings to light the differences between the previously mentally institutionalized and that of other classes, such as felons and the mentally ill. This Comment further proposes to re-fund the federal relief-from-disabilities program.

Part I of this Comment will explore the recognition of the Second Amendment rights and the judicial interpretations that have established the judicial framework for the right to bear arms. Part II of this Comment will explore the Congressional actions that have led to the current prohibition on the previously mentally institutionalized. Part III will discuss one circuit’s attack on the prohibition on the previously mentally institutionalized and explain the reasoning behind their decision. Part IV will use history and public policy to show why the previously mentally institutionalized prohibition is different from other categorical bans under 18 U.S.C § 922. Part V of this Comment will apply the previously mentally institutionalized prohibition to all three of the traditionally recognized levels of scrutiny. By subjecting the ban to all levels of judicial scrutiny and showing the lack of historical and legislative practices, this Comment will establish that the categorical prohibition on the previously mentally institutionalized is not currently constitutional and must be reformed. Part VI of this Comment will consider one solution–refunding the federal relief-from-disabilities program.”[36]

Knives And The Second Amendment (2013)

“This Article is the first scholarly analysis of knives and the Second Amendment. Under the Supreme Court’s standard in District of Columbia v. Heller, knives are Second Amendment “arms” because they are “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” including self-defense.

There is no knife that is more dangerous than a modern handgun; to the contrary, knives are much less dangerous. Therefore, restrictions on carrying handguns set the upper limit for restrictions on carrying knives.

Prohibitions on carrying knives in general, or of particular knives, are unconstitutional. For example, bans of knives that open in a convenient way (e.g., switchblades, gravity knives, and butterfly knives) are unconstitutional. Likewise unconstitutional are bans on folding knives that, after being opened, have a safety lock to prevent inadvertent closure.”[37]

Raising The Red Flag

Examining The Constitutionality of Extreme Risk Laws (2021)

“This Note examines the constitutionality of extreme risk protection orders, specifically, their burden on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear firearms. Part I explores the current demand for greater government intervention in light of the increase in mass shootings in the United States. Part II examines the evolution of the Second Amendment since the Founding and provides an overview of the current extreme risk petition process. Part III analyzes the constitutionality of enforcing extreme risk protection orders against law-abiding citizens. Finally, Part IV recommends future legislative safeguards that balance the fundamental interests of possessing firearms and promoting public safety.”[38]

Is Your Shotgun Sporting? (2013)

“The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm … to be imported … into the United States … if the firearm … is of a type that … is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes …

Destructive Device means … any type of weapon … which will … expel a projectile … , the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun … which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes …

There are around 300 million privately owned firearms in the United States. Of those, 21% are shotguns; this translates to around 62 million shotguns in the United States. Reasons for owning shotguns vary greatly, including collection, recreation, and self-defense. All shotguns coming into or already in the United States must comply with the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968, both of which require shotguns to be sporting to be lawfully possessed or imported. According to the standards of the sporting purposes tests, a large number of the 62 million privately owned shotguns may be unregistered Destructive Devices and therefore illegally possessed. With that in mind, must most shotguns be generally recognized as suitable for sporting purposes to be legal? Before District of Columbia v. Heller, the answer was likely “Yes.” However, after Heller, the answer became less clear because the laws requiring shotguns to be sporting may be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

This Note’s two focal points involve the sporting purposes tests found in the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the National Firearms Act of  1934. This Note will also cover the history and development of the sporting purposes law as applied to shotguns, particularly in the areas of importation and Destructive Devices. Then it will provide a brief discussion about the sporting purposes law as it applies to shotguns under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Finally, after answering whether shotguns must be sporting, this Note will discuss the constitutionality of such a sporting requirement under Heller.

If the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were to require registration of almost every modern shotgun as a Destructive Device, such a requirement would burden the ATF, the parties who manufacture and transfer shotguns, and current and potential shotgun owners. Further, the current wait to register a regulated item under the National Firearms Act is about 10 months. In light of Heller, the constitutionality of banning possession of an entire class of shotguns because they lack registration is highly suspect, especially in light of the extremely long approval process per shotgun.”[39]

How Can You Ban What Doesn’t Exist?

Redefining The “Assault Weapon”  (2020)

“The term ‘assault weapon’ has become synonymous with one of the most contentious political debates of our time. As gun politics stands today, there remains little room for compromise and a narrative mired in heavy emotion and staunch traditional principles. But as the debate swirls and deadlocks, the United States continues to experience a trend of violence unique amongst all other developed democratic societies. Yet neither this characteristically American mass violence, nor the continuous political efforts to restrict or expand Second Amendment rights are recent phenomena. Our country has been deeply entrenched in the ‘assault weapon’ debate for more than half of the twenty-first century, and as the natures of societal violence, warfare, and the firearms market at large change, the understanding of the term ‘assault weapon’ does so as well. This Note examines those different understandings of an ‘assault weapon’ and how those conflicting understandings have shaped legislation and, consequently, the resistance to legislation attempting to restrict the controversial weapon. Competing understandings of an ‘assault weapon’ have led to a patchwork system of state-to-state assault weapon bans and a federal ban which not only lacked the political support to avoid expiration in 2004, but also had little overall effect during the decade it was in force. Mass shootings are a pervasive and continuous threat to the fabric of American society and the problem must be addressed explicitly. The right to keep and bear arms will continue to stand protected within our Constitution. But if legislators and voters alike do not recognize the necessity of balancing the interests of life and liberty against those of gun ownership, we will implicitly accept that the Second Amendment is to be protected at the expense of innocent lives. This Note proposes a legislative approach to an assault weapons ban that would consider the prevalence of semi-automatic AR-15 rifles in mass shootings as well as the mechanics of the rifle that make it particularly lethal. There is a time and place for weapons of certain qualities. Our gun laws must reflect a respect for the distinction between modern warfare and an orderly civilian society.”[40]

Good Guys and Good Reasons

Addressing the Constitutionality of Good Reason Right-To-Carry Regulations and the Failures of the “Good Guy with a Gun” Theory (2018)

When shots rang out in the small Texas town of Sutherland Springs on November 5, 2017, Stephen Willeford was quick to respond. Upon hearing a rapid succession of gunshots emanating from the First Baptist Church across the street, a barefoot Willeford quickly loaded his magazine and ran outside with his rifle. He exchanged fire with the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, striking him at least once and using his truck as cover as Kelley hurled bullets from an AR-15 style rifle in his direction. Moments later, Kelley–outfitted with tactical gear and a ballistic vest–fled in his vehicle. Willeford flagged down a passing motorist, Johnnie Langendorff, and a high-speed chase ensued. The chase ended in the next  county, when Kelley violently crashed his vehicle. Kelley was found by the police, deceased in his vehicle, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Notwithstanding the significant actions of Willeford and Langendorff, Devin Kelley’s rampage left twenty-six churchgoers dead and injured twenty others.

Willeford and Langendorff have appropriately been hailed as heroes. Their actions were valiant and selfless, and their intervention is believed by many to have saved lives in what was otherwise another horrific mass shooting. Willeford’s actions, specifically, also speak to the National Rifle Association’s long-touted axiom, that ‘the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.’ But did Willeford actually stop the shooting? In the days following the Sutherland Springs church shooting, the fifth deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, that very debate emerged in mainstream American media.

There is a stark divergence in both the research surrounding the theory that the more guns a populations has, the lower the crime rate, as well as a defined split amongst the Federal Circuit Courts as to the precise scope of the Second Amendment right-to-carry outside of the home. Whether the  Second Amendment protects the right-to-carry a concealed weapon in public as a core component of the right is an unsettled legal issue at the Federal level, involving complex principles of constitutional analysis. The research is equally murky.

This Note has four major sections. The background section outlines the “good guy with a gun” argument (hereinafter “good guy thesis”), and analyzes several empirical studies which support or debunk the concept. The background provides a constitutional backdrop, outlining the sharp split in the Federal Circuit Courts regarding the scope of the Second Amendment. The argument section is comprised of three main arguments. Section one argues that intermediate scrutiny is the appropriate level of constitutional review for the carrying of firearms outside of the home, and that good reason firearms laws are both constitutional and logical. Section two argues that Professor John Donohue’s study, Right-to-Carry Laws, and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Date and a State-Level Synthetic Controls Analysis (hereinafter “Donohue Study”), provides a strong factual, data-driven basis for the premise that holstering more law-abiding “good guys” with firearms does not lower violent crime rates. Section three asserts several reasons why good reason firearm laws correctly balance individual Second Amendment rights with the state’s legitimate and compelling interest in public safety.”[41]

A Fighting Chance for Outlaws

Strict Scrutiny of North Carolina’s Felony Firearms Act (2010)

Joe Smith was sixty-two years old and still married to his high school sweetheart, Kim. Ever since graduating high school, he had worked as a crane operator for a small construction company, where he had made just enough to support his family and maintain their modest household. The couple’s two sons were on scholarship at the state university. Joe hoped college would separate his boys from the sorts of local rabble which had gotten him into trouble decades ago. Fortunately, no one seemed to care anymore about Joe’s 1964 conviction for felony drug possession. Or so he thought.

He opened his newspaper one Sunday morning and learned a group of four men armed with baseball bats had broken into the home of a local retiree over the weekend, destroying thousands of dollars’ worth of property before savagely beating the man’s golden retriever to  death. This was the third incident of this kind in less than a month, and had happened less than three miles down the road from Joe’s home. The suspects appeared to be victimizing older residents who lived in more isolated or rural parts of the county. Joe read this angrily, knowing he and his wife might also be targets. They would be helpless against four armed men.

After work the next day, Joe drove into town and visited Steve’s Hunting Supply. After browsing the firearms display for a few hours, he decided on a pump action shotgun. “Perfect for home defense,” Steve remarked. But once Joe had filled out all the paperwork – on which he noted his prior felony conviction – Steve refused to make the sale.

As Joe stared at him in confused silence, the uncomfortable store owner explained that state law had recently been revised to prohibit anyone with a felony conviction from having or buying a firearm, and that federal law prohibited retailers from selling a gun to someone whose possession was illegal under state law. So regrettably, because of Joe’s 1964 drug conviction, it was unlawful for Steve to make the sale. Joe was bewildered. “That was forty-something years ago!” he protested. “Plus, I’m not taking this thing anywhere but my own house.”

“I’m sorry,” said Steve resolutely, “but that’s the law, and if you don’t like it, contact your state representatives.” When Joe finally got home that night, he did just that. After having Kim check over his letter for spelling errors, Joe sealed it reverently inside an envelope, affixed two postage stamps just to be safe, and said a prayer.

One night several weeks later, Joe stood on the back porch of his country home grilling spareribs for a late dinner. Kim was inside, folding laundry. Just as he turned off the propane flame, Joe heard a vehicle approaching his home. Even from the opposite side of the house, he could hear unbelievably loud music pumping from the car stereo into the rural night air. “I sure hope that’s not our boys!” he shouted through the back door to Kim, who appeared momentarily, shaking her head. “I don’t think so,” she said with concern.

Joe’s pulse quickened. He strode through the kitchen and living room to the front of the house and peered through the small windows in the door. To his horror (but not to his surprise), he saw four shadowy figures get out of a parked car and begin to walk casually across the wide lawn towards his front steps, each carrying what looked like a baseball bat.

He tried to calm his breathing as he quickly double-checked the lock on the front door and handed his cell phone to Kim, who looked faint. Joe quietly instructed his wife to call for help and lock herself in the bedroom until police arrived. Without questioning him, she dialed emergency and hurried toward the rear of the home. Joe was still scouring the kitchen in search of something he could use to defend himself when he heard the first sound of shattering glass.

Thirty miles away from the crisis unfolding at Joe’s home, a young dental assistant named Meredith paid her bar tab and finished off her fourth drink. She lit a cigarette as she stumbled out of the downtown martini bar, hoping to catch a stronger cell phone signal. Six years earlier, before graduate school, she had been convicted of “felony death by vehicle” after drunkenly driving over the city sidewalk (and a pedestrian) on her way home from a cocktail party. While her prison sentence had been suspended, state law mandated revocation of her driver’s license; yet it also allowed her to petition for a conditional license after five years. Just months earlier, her own petition had been granted, and she purchased a new Land Rover to celebrate regaining her driving privileges.

Now frustrated with being unable to contact her “no show” date, the tipsy young woman reoriented herself towards the parking deck. She climbed the stairs to the second level and peered groggily across several rows of cars in search of her large, silver-colored sports utility vehicle. Finding it, she scrambled into the driver’s seat. With a sigh of resignation, she dialed her ex-boyfriend, started the engine, and dug through the glove box in search of her favorite Whitney Houston album.

In his office at the state capitol the next morning, Senator Randall hands a stack of unread constituent letters to his intern. “I’m heading to a late breakfast,” he says. “If they’re writing about the school funding bill, send a gracious response – you know what to do with the rest.” An hour later, while the Senator is still shaking hands with union bosses, all six pages of a handwritten letter from Joe Smith meet their fate in the teeth of a document shredder.”[42]

Symposium —The Second Amendment At The Supreme Court

“700 Years Of History and The Modern Effects of Guns In Public” (2022)

“Political and legal debates over assault rifles, large-capacity magazines, and other lethal technology are characterized by increasing rancor and hostility. Lack of a common vocabulary to describe the topics of debate, much less facilitate a constructive dialogue, only aggravates this trend. For example, gun rights advocates often disparage the term “assault rifle” as reflecting a practical illiteracy about firearms or treat it as some kind of “hoplophobic” smear. Regulators sometimes class weapons based on features that gun-rights advocates say are purely cosmetic, leading to charges that these regulations are grotesquely over-or under-inclusive.

The doctrine defining constitutionally protected arms is advancing without a clear sense of the object of Second Amendment protections. District of Columbia v. Heller – the first Supreme Court case to hold that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep firearms for personal purposes like self-defense – uses various terminology for arms in its opinion. At its most general, the Court states that the constitution protects weapons in “common use” for “lawful purposes,” as distinct from “arms” that are “dangerous and unusual.” But it doesn’t take long for those broad categories to become muddled. Heller says that handguns capable of concealment are protected, but that short-barreled shotguns (which are modified specifically to be carried in one hand and concealed) are “dangerous and unusual” weapons that may be prohibited. It suggests that “M-16s and the like” may be banned; but also, that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms” – which would include not only M-16s, but “weapons useful in warfare” such as rocket launchers, hand grenades, and more exotic and deadly weaponry. Some lower court judges, those who eschew conventional tailoring and are receptive to a “text-history-and-tradition-only” approach to Second Amendment questions, have begun to suggest that weapons that are “lineal descendants” of Founding Era arms are protected by the Second  Amendment, despite the fact that such familial metaphors more often obscure than illuminate historical relationships between technologies of different periods.”[43]

Survey Of Books Related To The Law

Friedman: “The Will Of The People”

Public Opinion As A Meager Influence In Shaping Contemporary Supreme Court Decision Making (2011)

“Chief Justice John Roberts famously described the ideal Supreme Court Justice as analogous to a baseball umpire, who simply “applies” the rules, rather than making them. Roberts promised to “remember that it’s my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”  At her own recent confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan demurred, opining that Roberts’s metaphor might erroneously suggest that “everything is clear-cut, and that there’s no judgment in the process.”

Based on his 2009 book, The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution, Barry Friedman would likely reject the Chief Justice’s analogy as well, but for a different reason. Friedman might describe Supreme Court Justices as umpires who call the balls and strikes, but whose future calls in constitutional law cases might be influenced by an angry crowd – leading them, for example, to reverse the call of a strike if the fans believed strongly enough that the pitch was low and outside.

Friedman offers The Will of the People as a response to a “persistent complaint about judicial accountability” – that unelected and unaccountable judges wield tremendous power, which thwarts democratic judgments (p. 6). As Friedman relates this complaint, which has famously been described as the “counter majoritarian difficulty,” “when the justices base a ruling on the  Constitution, the country must live with that decision unless and until the Court reverses itself or the rare constitutional amendment is adopted. There is no overriding the Court otherwise.”

Friedman offers an account of the relationship between the Court and the public in which this complaint is unfounded. In his view, it is the public that is in fact calling the game. Rather than thwarting popular will, the Court over time largely aligns itself with public opinion: “Through the process of judicial responsiveness to public opinion … the meaning of the Constitution takes shape. The Court rules. The public responds. Over time, sometimes a long period, public opinion jells, and the Court comes into line with the considered views of the American public” (p. 383). Friedman grounds this thesis in a detailed history of judicial review and the Supreme Court, starting with the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 and concluding with the end of the Rehnquist Court in 2005.”[44]

Constitutional Amendment Process

Occasionally, someone suggests that the Second Amendment be amended. Those rare suggestions have thus far not survived the utterance of such a far fletched idea. “Scholars have parsed the words, and courts and lawyers have argued over their meaning. Historians have debated what was meant by a well-regulated militia back in 1789. Some say the framers only meant to protect well-organized militias in the respective states, forerunners of today’s National Guard. Others say the framers also intended to shield the guns of individuals, the weapons they would use if those militias were called upon to fight.”[45] But, so far no one has tried to amend the Second Amendment.

Theoretically, it is possible to change the wording by repealing the existing Second Amendment, replacing it, or leaving a blank space in the Bill of Rights. “The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval. The original document is forwarded directly to NARA’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for processing and publication. The OFR adds legislative history notes to the joint resolution and publishes it in slip law format. The OFR also assembles an information package for the States which includes formal red-line copies of the joint resolution, copies of the joint resolution in slip law format, and the statutory procedure for ratification under 1 U.S.C. 106b.”[46]

Congress tried to ban assault-style weapons in 1994 but put a 10-year sunset provision in the law. It survived court challenges at the time, but when the 10-year term had passed, the majority control of Congress had also passed — from the Democrats, who had enacted the ban, to the Republicans, who let it lapse. A proposed amendment to the Constitution must first be passed by Congress with two-thirds majorities in both the House and the Senate. The two chambers have not achieved such a margin for a newly written amendment to the Constitution in nearly half a century. The last such effort was the 26th Amendment (lowering the voting age nationwide from 21 to 18), and it cleared Capitol Hill in March 1971. [47]

For more than 200 years the Second Amendment was understood by courts to mean that it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms. That explains why, in United States v. Miller, decided in 1939, the court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that sort of weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.[48]

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a vigorous opponent in the Heller and Chicago cases, offered a solution to the quagmire created by the court. “He proposed that the anomalous result of those two cases could be avoided by adding five words to the text of the Second Amendment to make it unambiguously conform to the original intent of its draftsmen. As so amended, it would read: ‘A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.’”[49]

While speculative, there seems little doubt about who is responsible for the reinterpretation of America’s Second Amendment—it was the NRA. The Brenan Center for Justice put it this way: “The NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment. The Founders never intended to create an unregulated individual right to a gun. Today, millions believe they did. Here’s how it happened. . . The National Rifle Association’s long crusade to bring its interpretation of the Constitution into the mainstream teaches a different lesson: Constitutional change is the product of public argument and political maneuvering. The pro-gun movement may have started with scholarship, but then it targeted public opinion and shifted the organs of government. By the time the issue reached the Supreme Court, the desired new doctrine fell like a ripe apple from a tree. . . Though state militias eventually dissolved, for two centuries we had guns (plenty!) and we had gun laws in towns and states, governing everything from where gunpowder could be stored to who could carry a weapon—and courts overwhelmingly upheld these restrictions. Gun rights and gun control were seen as going hand in hand. Four times between 1876 and 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule that the Second Amendment protected individual gun ownership outside the context of a militia. As the Tennessee Supreme Court put it in 1840, ‘A man in the pursuit of deer, elk, and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms; much less could it be said that a private citizen bears arms because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane.’”[50]

The NRA has made its opposition to gun control clear. “The NRA will support legislation that improves school security, promotes mental health services, and helps reduce violent crime. However, we will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level. It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners. This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.”[51]  

Gun Control, Explained

A Quick Guide To The Debate Over Gun Legislation In The United States (2023)

The U.S. public is divided, but some aspects of gun control are supported in 2023. “Expanded background checks for guns purchased routinely receive more than 80 or 90 percent support in polling. Nationally, a majority of Americans have supported stricter gun laws for decades. A Gallup poll conducted in June 2023 found that 55 percent of participants were in favor of a ban on the manufacture, possession, and sale of semiautomatic guns. A majority of respondents also supported other measures, including raising the legal age at which people can purchase certain firearms, and enacting a 30-day waiting period for gun sales.

But the jumps in demand for gun control that occur after mass shootings also tend to revert to the partisan mean as time passes. Gallup poll data shows that the percentage of participants who supported stricter gun laws receded to 57 percent in October from 66 percent in June, which was just weeks after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo. A PDK poll conducted after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde found that 72 percent of Republicans supported arming teachers, in contrast with 24 percent of Democrats.

On the other side of the political aisle, gun control opponents, including most Republican members of Congress, argue that proposals to limit access to firearms infringe on the right of citizens to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. And they contend that mass shootings are not the result of easily accessible guns, but of criminals and mentally ill people bent on waging violence.”[52]

“Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support some restrictions on firearms, but G.O.P. lawmakers fear they would pay a steep political price for embracing them. The calculation behind Republicans’ steadfast opposition to any new gun regulations — even in the face of the kind of unthinkable massacre that occurred Tuesday at an elementary school in Texas — is fairly simple . . . Republicans have resisted proposals such as the one for universal background checks for gun buyers, despite remarkably broad support from the public for such plans — support that can reach up to 90 percent nationwide in some cases. The reality is that that 90 percent figure probably includes some Republicans who are open to new laws, but would not clamor for them or punish a lawmaker for failing to back them, and the 10 percent opposed reflect the sentiments of the G.O.P. base, which decides primary contests and is zealous in its devotion to gun rights. Most Republicans in the Senate represent deeply conservative states where gun ownership is treated as a sacred privilege enshrined in the Constitution, a privilege not to be infringed upon no matter how much blood is spilled in classrooms and school hallways around the country.”[53]

Gun Control Attacked by NRA Washington State’s New Gun Control Law

The headline blared, “NRA sues Democrat governor over Washington state’s new blatantly unconstitutional gun ban.” First On Fox reported, “This new law is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court long-ago ruled that states cannot ban firearms that are in common use, ’Aoibheann Cline, Washington state director of the NRA-ILA, said of the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington state, Fox News Digital has exclusively learned. Inslee signed three gun control bills on Tuesday, including House Bill 1240, which took effect immediately in banning the sale and manufacture of 50 types of semiautomatic rifles, including AK-47s and AR-15s. The NRA’s lobbying arm, NRA-ILA, filed the suit Tuesday – which specifically targets the ban on semiautomatic firearms – in the Eastern District of Washington on behalf of individual plaintiffs and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. . . The NRA described HB 1240 as the ‘worst of such schemes in the country,’ that surpasses gun restrictions in California, citing how the law bans ‘nearly every modern semiautomatic rifle’ that also extends to some semiautomatic handguns and shotguns. The NRA noted that semiautomatic firearms are owned by tens of millions of Americans for self-defense, hunting, and recreational purposes.”[54]

The New York Times countered Fox On First a day later. “Washington State approved a package of gun control measures on Tuesday that includes a ban on the sale of military-style semiautomatic weapons, making it the ninth state to join efforts to prevent the distribution of AR-15s and other powerful rifles often used in mass shootings. The new laws put Washington in the ranks of states with the strongest gun control measures in the nation. They include a 10-day waiting period on gun purchases, gun safety training requirements and a provision allowing the state attorney general and consumers to sue gun manufacturers or dealers under public nuisance laws if they negligently allow their guns to fall into the hands of minors or “dangerous individuals.”[55] Whether Washington State’s new law passes muster will be resolved first in District Court in Washington, then in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and maybe finally in the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. It’s fate is not a legal one; rather it is political.

The Future Of Gun Control Legislation in the Post Keller Era

Whether gun control legislation at the state level can pass muster in today’s conservative majority Supreme Court is unlikely. “All U.S. Supreme Court decisions have consequences but only a few jolt the legal system and the nation with immediate and long-term consequences. Last summer’s Second Amendment ruling by the high court is one of those decisions. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently struck down a federal law prohibiting individuals from ‘possessing a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order. The decision in United States v. Rahimi is direct fallout from the June 2022 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.”[56]

In that case, the court held, “Where the State of New York issued public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrated a special need for self-defense, the State’s licensing regime violated the Constitution because the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protected an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home. A State could not prevent law-abiding citizens from publicly carrying handguns because they had not demonstrated a special need for self-defense.”[57]

The June 30, 2022, Reuters headline read, U.S. Supreme Court throws out rulings upholding gun restrictions. “The 6-3 ruling, with the conservative justices in the majority and liberal justices in dissent, struck down New York state’s limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home. The court found that the law, enacted in 1913, violated a person’s right to ‘keep and bear arms’ under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. The ruling, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, could undermine similar restrictions in other states and imperil other types of state and local firearms restrictions nationwide. Thomas wrote: ‘We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.’ Gun rights, held dear by many Americans and promised by the country’s 18th century founders, are a contentious issue in a nation with high levels of firearms violence including numerous mass shootings. Just in recent weeks, 19 children and two teachers were killed on May 24 at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 people were slain on May 14 at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. President Joe Biden, who has called gun violence a national embarrassment, condemned the decision. ‘This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,’ Biden said. ‘In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society – not less – to protect our fellow Americans.’ Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in dissent that the court expanded gun rights without coming to grips with the ‘nature or severity’ of firearms violence in a country with more guns per person than any other. Breyer said the ruling leaves states without the ability to address ‘significant dangers.’ The justices overturned a lower court ruling throwing out a challenge to the law by two gun owners and the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, an influential gun rights group closely aligned with Republicans. Thursday’s ruling underscored how the court’s conservative majority is sympathetic to an expansive reading of Second Amendment rights. It represented the court’s most important statement on gun rights in more than a decade.”[58]

Gun Control By The ATF—Costs & Programs

The ATF “Protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, and acts of terrorism. The ATF partners with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public through information sharing, training, research, and use of technology.”[59]

“Its 2021 fiscal year budget was $1,666.3 million, a 19.0 percent increase over FY2020. Its gun control mission has three segments. The first, ‘Halting Gun Violence’ has a $98.0 million budget and requires 376 positions, consisting of three attorneys and 195 agents. It has an ‘Intelligence-based strategy to reduce violent crime and protect our communities. This initiative will initially focus on communities that have experienced persistent firearms related violent crime to achieve prompt and sustainable reductions in violence. It will support investigative capacity, such as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. Those services cost $579.8 million, 2,613 positions, requiring 2,057 agents. Critical Operations Support costs $53.3 million but 0 positions. This segment supports ATF efforts to maintain both its cadre of special agents, overall staffing levels, and support for critical programs such as NIBIN and the National Firearms Act. It uses its funding to modernize training and equipment to meet emerging threats, backfill existing positions, and accommodate investment in critical program operations that address violent crime, such as the Crime Gun Intelligence Centers . . . Reducing violent crime & promoting public safety costs $33.6 million and 83 positions, including 48 agents.”[60]  

The Economic Cost of Gun Violence

Federal, state, and local governments are spending a combined average of nearly $35 million each day to deal with the aftermath of gun violence across the country.[61]

“In an average year, gun violence in America kills 40,000 people, wounds twice as many, and has an economic consequence to our nation of $557 billion. Without a doubt, the human cost of gun violence—the people who are taken from us and the survivors whose lives are forever altered—is the most devastating. In addition to this human impact, examining the serious economic consequences of gun violence offers a wider lens for understanding just how extensive and expensive this crisis is.  This staggering $557 billion figure is five times the nation’s budget for the Department of Education, which funds preschool through college for millions of Americans. If shooting tragedies were prevented from occurring in the first place, the vast funds spent in the aftermath of gun violence could be directed toward beneficial and productive investments such as educating the next generation. This $557 billion problem represents the lifetime costs associated with gun violence, including three types of costs: immediate costs starting at the scene of a shooting, such as police investigations and medical treatment; subsequent costs, such as treatment, long-term physical and mental health care, earnings lost to disability or death, and criminal justice costs; and cost estimates of quality of life lost over a victim’s life span for pain and suffering of victims and their families.

Taxpayers, survivors, families, and employers pay an average of $7.79 million daily in health care costs, including immediate and long-term medical and mental health care, plus patient transportation and ambulance costs related to gun violence, and lose an estimated $147.32 million per day related to work missed due to injury or death.

American taxpayers pay $30.16 million every day in police and criminal justice costs for investigation, prosecution, and incarceration.

Employers lose an average of $1.47 million on a daily basis in productivity, revenue, and costs required to recruit and train replacements for victims of gun violence.

Society loses $1.34 billion daily in quality-of-life costs from the suffering and lost well-being of gun violence victims and their families.

The large variation in rates of gun deaths and injuries in the 50 states and Washington, DC, translates into substantial differences in the economic burden from this violence. Compiling this information is vital so that policymakers and constituents can understand how resources are currently being spent and to provide direction for a different tomorrow. The average annual cost for overall gun violence in the United States is $1,698 for every resident in the country. However, in states with stronger gun laws, the economic toll of gun violence is less than half this amount, whereas in states where gun laws are weaker and gun injuries and fatalities are higher, gun violence costs residents double or more this amount per person.”[62]  

The Data Buried in Gun Deaths

“In 2021, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 48,830 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC. That figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were accidental, those that involved law enforcement and those whose circumstances could not be determined. The total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries played a contributing, but not principal, role.

About eight-in-ten U.S. murders in 2021 – 20,958 out of 26,031, or 81% – involved a firearm. That marked the highest percentage since at least 1968, the earliest year for which the CDC has online records. More than half of all suicides in 2021 – 26,328 out of 48,183, or 55% – also involved a gun, the highest percentage since 2001.

Gun murders, in particular, have climbed sharply during the pandemic, increasing 45% between 2019 and 2021, while the number of gun suicides rose 10% during that span. The overall increase in U.S. gun deaths since the beginning of the pandemic includes an especially stark rise in such fatalities among children and teens under the age of 18. Gun deaths among children and teens rose 50% in just two years, from 1,732 in 2019 to 2,590 in 2021.

The rate of gun fatalities varies widely from state to state. In 2021, the states with the highest total rates of gun-related deaths – counting murders, suicides and all other categories tracked by the CDC – included Mississippi (33.9 per 100,000 people), Louisiana (29.1), New Mexico (27.8), Alabama (26.4) and Wyoming (26.1). The states with the lowest total rates included Massachusetts (3.4), Hawaii (4.8), New Jersey (5.2), New York (5.4) and Rhode Island (5.6).

In 2020, the most recent year for which the FBI has published data, handguns were involved in 59% of the 13,620 U.S. gun murders and non-negligent manslaughters for which data is available. Rifles – the category that includes guns sometimes referred to as “assault weapons” – were involved in 3% of firearm murders. Shotguns were involved in 1%. The remainder of gun homicides and non-negligent manslaughters (36%) involved other kinds of firearms or those classified as ‘type not stated.’ It’s important to note that the FBI’s statistics do not capture the details on all gun murders in the U.S. each year. The FBI’s data is based on information voluntarily submitted by police departments around the country, and not all agencies participate or provide complete information each year.”[63]

Men & Guns

According to the nonprofit research center The Violence Project, men are responsible for 98% of mass shootings, and according to an analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety, a grassroots organization aiming to combat gun violence, men were behind 94% of 240 mass shootings—four or more killed—regardless of location from 2009 to 2020 in which the shooter’s gender could be confirmed. The gender gap goes beyond active shooter incidents. Of 16,245 murders in the U.S. in 2019, in those for which a suspect’s gender was identified, 10,335 (63%) were committed by men, according to FBI data.

Gun violence victims also are predominantly male, accounting for 85% of fatalities and 87% of injuries through May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But women are also deeply affected by gun violence, often as grieving family members or because they’re left as sole caregivers of children in the wake of the violence. Or as victims themselves.

So, why are American men so much more prone to gun violence? Experts cite a variety of reasons, from brain chemistry and evolution to how men and boys are socialized . . . But other experts said it really just comes down to what they say is arguably America’s most dangerous combination: toxic masculinity and gun availability. Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said toxic masculinity, the cultural idea that manhood is defined by violence and aggression to maintain power or strength, is at the root of both domestic violence and mass shootings, adding that there’s one reason gun violence is a ‘uniquely American issue—it’s easy to get guns. Men commit about 90% of murders worldwide, including but not limited to the use of firearms, according to a 2019 United Nations report. But America’s gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than other high-income countries, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. ‘Every country has racism, xenophobia, hatred. Only America gives those same people access to guns,’ Watts said.”[64]

Rural vs. Urban Settings for Gun Violence

“Gun death rates are consistently higher in rural areas than in big cities, two decades of data show. From 2011 to 2020, the most rural counties in the U.S. had a 37% higher rate of gun deaths per capita than the most urban counties, according to research published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery. That’s up from a 25% difference from 2000 to 2010. The findings are based on an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors attributed the trend to a rise in gun suicides, which outnumbered gun homicides in 2021 by more than 5,300 and are more likely to occur in rural counties.

Rural areas are sort of ignored when we pass firearm laws, because people think that it’s just a city problem, while it’s not. Suicides were always the highest in rural areas. That hasn’t changed. Gun deaths overall have gone up, including firearm suicides, in those areas. From 2011 to 2020, the most rural counties had a 46% lower rate of gun homicide deaths than the most urban counties but a 76% higher rate of gun suicide deaths.

CDC data suggests firearm death rates tend to be highest in mountain states like Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. These are also states that, not coincidentally, have particularly high firearm ownership rates at the population level. Gun homicide rates were highest in Southern states — particularly Louisiana and Mississippi — in 2020.”[65]  

Gun Violence and People Of Color

“Gun violence is a major problem in the United States as well as the key driver of the rise in violent crime across the nation. Notably, gun violence has a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities and is highly concentrated in a relatively small number of neighborhoods that have historically been under resourced and racially segregated. This is due to a combination of weak gun laws; systemic racial inequities, including unequal access to safe housing and adequate educational and employment opportunities; and a history of disinvestment in public infrastructure and services in the communities of color most affected by gun violence.

To reduce gun violence in these communities, U.S. policymakers must complement commonsense gun laws with investments in community-based violence intervention initiatives and policies to address root causes of gun violence. Gun homicides are on the rise in the United States, with young Black and brown people experiencing the highest rates. Young Black Americans, ages 15 to 34, experience the highest rates of gun homicides across all demographics. Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to die by gun homicide. In 2020, 12,179 Black Americans were killed with guns, compared with 7,286 white Americans. While Black Americans made up 12.5 percent of the U.S. population that year, they were the victims in 61 percent of all gun homicides. Black Americans are three times more likely than white Americans to be fatally shot by police. 60 percent of gun deaths among Hispanic and Latino people are gun homicides. Young Hispanic Americans, ages 15 to 29, represent 4 percent of the population yet are victims in 8 percent of all gun homicides. In 2015, half of all gun homicides took place in just 127 cities across the country. Gun homicides are concentrated in a relatively small number of neighborhoods in these cities, which have historically been under resourced and racially segregated.

Women of color are more likely than their white counterparts to be shot and killed with firearms. Black women are twice as likely as white women to be fatally shot by an intimate partner. American Indian and Alaska Native women are killed by intimate partners at a rate of 4.3 per 100,000, compared with 1.5 per 100,000 for white women. Guns are used in more than half of all homicides of women and are disproportionately used against Black women. Even when firearms are not used to kill or injure, they are used to threaten women at alarming rates. 4.5 million women alive today have reported being threatened with a firearm.”[66]

Fourteen Ways to Prevent Gun Violence  

Death by gun is a “Predictable outcome of our country’s lack of political will to make a change and an underinvestment in prevention approaches that work. Through a public health approach that focuses on drawing from evidence and addressing the factors that increase or decrease the risk of gun violence, particularly in communities that are disproportionately impacted, we can save lives. Each time a major tragedy occurs, the discourse tends to focus on addressing a specific venue. In the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, there is an understandable focus on school safety. We strongly support broad engagement of community members, including young people and other survivors of gun violence, policymakers, and others, in insisting that schools be safe. We must also insist on that same level of safety for our places of worship, shopping malls, movie theaters, concert venues, nightclubs, workplaces, neighborhoods, and homes.

We are listening to young people from all races, classes, and sexualities, in Florida, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and throughout the country, who are unifying to speak truth to power. We have renewed hope that, together, we can prevent gun violence— not just in the case of mass shootings but also in the case of domestic violence, suicide, community violence, and violence involving law enforcement. We first developed this list after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. The public health approach has evolved since then, and we have now updated it, including more attention to addressing multiple forms of gun violence.

The recommendations below begin with attention to reducing immediate risks related to guns, broaden to address the underlying contributors to gun violence, and then address the prevention infrastructure necessary to ensure effectiveness. We also include recommendations related to new frontiers for research and practice, to ensure that we continue to learn, innovate, and increase our impact over time. The set of recommendations illustrate that one program or policy alone is not going to significantly reduce gun violence, but rather, through comprehensive strategies, we can achieve safety in our homes, schools, and communities.

1. Sensible gun laws: Reduce easy access to dangerous weapons.

2. Establish a culture of gun safety. Reduce firearm access to youth and individuals who are at risk of harming themselves or others. Hold the gun industry accountable and ensure there is adequate oversight over the marketing and sales of guns and ammunition. Engage responsible gun dealers and owners in solutions. Insist on mandatory training and licensing for owners. Require safe and secure gun storage. Underlying contributors to gun violence: systematically reduce risks and increase resilience in individuals, families, and communities.

3. Public health solutions: Recognize gun violence as a critical and preventable public health problem.

4. Comprehensive solutions: Support community planning and implementation of comprehensive community safety plans that include prevention and intervention.

5. Trauma, connection, and services: Expand access to high quality, culturally competent, coordinated, social, emotional, and mental health supports and address the impact of trauma.

6. Support gun violence research: Ensure that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have the resources to study this issue and provide science-based guidance.

7. Health system: Establish a comprehensive health system in which violence prevention is a health system responsibility and imperative.

8. Community healing: Preventing community trauma.

9. Mental health and wellbeing: Invest in communities to promote resilience and mental health and wellbeing.

10. Support healthy norms about masculinity: Explore the pathways between gun violence and harmful norms that have been about maintaining power and privilege.

11. Impulsive anger: Explore the linkages between anger and gun violence.

12. Economic development: Reduce concentrated disadvantage and invest in employment opportunities.

13. Law enforcement violence: Establish accountability for sworn officers and private security.

14. Technology: Advance gun safety and self-defense technology.

As our families, communities, and country reel from terrible daily tragedies, we must vow to change our culture and our policies and to stop this cycle of violence. We should be able to live in our homes, send our children to first grade, pray in our houses of worship, shop in our local malls, and walk through our streets and neighborhoods without being shot. Together we can take action in the memory of those who died and insist that this never happen again.”[67]

Doing Less Harm

“Today, the gun lobby wants policy to focus solely on the shooter. After all, if no one ever got angry, scared, or depressed, if no one ever made a mistake or acted irresponsibly or criminally, there would be hardly any gun injuries. Just as the twentieth-century motor-vehicle lobby wanted to deflect public attention from the motor-vehicle industrial complex, so the gun lobby today wants to keep policy attention away from the firearms industry.

Too often the first thought of most people, when injury occurs, is to determine whom to blame. But blame is often counterproductive for prevention; if someone else is at fault, there is little reason for others to help in prevention efforts. Rather than rely on the blame game, the public-health approach to reducing gun violence seeks to bring people and institutions together to get to work on the problem. It invites everyone to join the effort as part of the solution. It wants all groups—including law enforcement, medical providers, the faith community—to continue to perform their regular duties in helping prevent firearm injuries, but it also wants them to focus more on prevention in their routine activities, and to go outside their comfort zones.

For example, public-health practitioners want police not only to enforce laws, but to enforce them in ways that are most likely to prevent future problems. Practitioners also applaud police officers who go out into the community to promote better law enforcement-community relations. Boston police, for example, have social workers in most precincts, and an ice-cream truck that provides treats for city residents. The faith community in Boston not only preaches about morality, but played a direct role in the 1990s “Boston Miracle,” when youth firearm deaths fell more than 60 percent. Religious leaders united, worked together with law enforcement and the community, and were often conspicuously present on the streets where and when the worst violence occurred.

There are so many things that institutions and individuals can do to reduce the nation’s firearm-related public-health problems. Firearm manufacturers could reduce gun accidents by ensuring that semi-automatics cannot shoot when the magazine is removed; they could reduce gun theft, gun accidents, and gun suicides by producing “smart” guns that can be used only by the owner and others authorized by the owner. All gun shops could begin using “best practices” for preventing straw purchases (as some alcohol retailers have done to reduce underage alcohol purchase). Gun owners could store their firearms safely to reduce accidents and theft: it is estimated that more than 300,000 guns are stolen each year, a main way these weapons get into the wrong hands.

Focused conversations can be helpful. Even though members of gun-owning households are about 50 times more likely to commit suicide with a firearm than to die from an unintentional shooting, and far more likely to die in a firearm suicide than in a firearm homicide, most firearm instructors never even mention suicide. My colleague Cathy Barber has had success working with gun shops, gun ranges, and gun trainers to reduce suicides by promoting the message that, just as “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” friends should offer to “babysit” the guns of someone going through a rough patch, until things get back to normal. This is one way to reduce suicide without any new laws—or even attempting to change anyone’s mental health.

Many other groups could help as well. Healthcare providers could help families get guns out of a home when someone in the household is at risk for suicide. Insurers could offer lower premiums to gun owners who store guns safely. Consumers could boycott companies that engage in practices that most endanger public safety, such as promoting firearms and accessories, like bump stocks, that increase deaths in mass shootings. Media in metropolitan areas could focus less on individual shooters and more on how and from where their guns were brought into the city. Foundations could again financially support firearm research and data collection. Two decades ago, foundations provided the funds to create the pilot for the National Violent Death Reporting System. Once these groups, and many others, are energized to help tackle U.S. gun violence, they almost always find innovative and effective approaches for reducing the problem.

The federal government itself has many ways to help reduce firearm injuries. Government research on, and its purchase of, “smart guns” that help prevent unauthorized firearm use could reduce gun theft, gun accidents, and gun suicide. Government could help write safety standards for firearms—leading to requiring, for example, child-proof firearms that, like child-proof aspirin bottles, could reduce unintentional deaths among toddlers. Unlike other age groups, toddlers typically shoot themselves; indeed, the unintentional firearm death rate for toddlers is currently higher than that for five- to 10-year olds. Surgeon General reports on the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrating the connection between a gun in the home and completed suicide could help reduce firearm suicide, and the overall suicide rate. Differential taxes on different types of firearms (e.g., “assault weapons”) could help reduce the stock of those firearms most effective in killing large numbers of victims quickly.

Virtually every gun in the United States begins as a legal gun: manufactured legally and sold to someone who did not fail the federal background check. Yet many guns get into the hands of people who almost everyone agrees should not have them, often through theft. By shifting the burden of proof, strict liability would provide better incentives for owners to protect their guns from improper access. Far more households own motor vehicles than own guns. Yet firearms kill about the same number of civilians as do motor vehicles. We need to do a much better job of learning to live with our firearms.”[68]

Executive Order on Reducing Gun Violence and Making Our Communities Safer

March 14, 2023—The White House

 By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  Every few days in the United States, we mourn a new mass shooting.  Daily acts of gun violence — including community violence, domestic violence, suicide, and accidental shootings — may not always make the evening news, but they too cut lives short and leave survivors and their communities with long-lasting physical and mental wounds.  We cannot accept these facts as the enduring reality of life in America.  Instead, we must together insist that we have had enough, and that we will no longer allow the interests of the gun manufacturers to win out over the safety of our children and Nation.

It is the policy of my Administration that executive departments and agencies (agencies) will pursue every legally available and appropriate action to reduce gun violence.  Through this whole-of-government approach, my Administration has made historic progress to save lives.  My Administration has taken action to keep guns out of dangerous hands and especially dangerous weapons off of our streets; hold gun traffickers and rogue gun dealers accountable; fund accountable, effective community policing; and invest in community violence interventions and prevention strategies.

Last year, I signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (the “Act”), the most significant bipartisan gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years.  The Act provides communities with new tools to combat gun violence, including enhanced gun background checks for individuals under age 21, funding for extreme risk protection orders and other crisis interventions, and increased mental health resources to help children impacted by gun violence heal from the resulting grief and trauma.

I continue to call on the Congress to take additional action to reduce gun violence, including by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring background checks for all gun sales, requiring safe storage of firearms, funding my comprehensive Safer America Plan, and expanding community violence intervention and prevention strategies.  In the meantime, my Administration will continue to do all that we can, within existing authority, to make our communities safer.

Sec. 2.  Implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  The Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Education, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall each submit a report to the President within 60 days of the date of this order describing what actions their respective agencies have taken to implement the Act, data and analysis regarding the use and early effects of the Act, and additional steps their respective agencies will take to maximize the benefits of the Act.  These reports shall include a plan for increasing public awareness and use of resources made available by the Act.

Sec. 3.  Additional Agency Actions to Reduce Gun Violence.  (a)  The Attorney General shall develop and implement a plan to:

  • clarify the definition of who is engaged in the business of dealing in firearms, and thus required to become Federal firearms licensees (FFLs), in order to increase compliance with the Federal background check requirement for firearm sales, including by considering a rulemaking, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law;

(ii)   prevent former FFLs whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered from continuing to engage in the business of dealing in firearms;

(iii)  publicly release, to the fullest extent permissible by law, inspection reports of FFL dealers cited for violations of the law; and

(iv)   support efforts to modernize and make permanent the Undetectable Firearms Act (18 U.S.C. 922(p)).

(b)  The Secretary of Defense; the Attorney General; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including through the Surgeon General of the United States; the Secretary of Education; and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall expand existing Federal campaigns and other efforts to promote safe storage of firearms.

I  The Secretary of Defense; the Attorney General; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including through the Surgeon General of the United States; and the Secretary of Education shall undertake efforts to encourage effective use of extreme risk protection orders (“red flag” laws), partnering with law enforcement, health care providers, educators, and other community leaders.

(d)  The Attorney General; the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including through the Surgeon General of the United States; the Secretary of Education; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, shall develop a proposal for the President, and submit it no later than September 15, 2023, on how the Federal Government can better support the recovery, mental health, and other needs of survivors of gun violence, families of victims and survivors of gun violence, first responders to incidents of gun violence, and communities affected by gun violence.  The proposal should draw on existing evidence, where available, and take into account how to address needs in both the immediate aftermath of mass shootings and in the years following such events.  The proposal should recommend any additional executive branch coordination and additional resources or authorities from the Congress needed to implement the proposal, as well as how agencies will assess the outcomes for the activities implemented.

I  The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall develop and implement principles to further firearm and public safety practices through the Department of Defense’s acquisition of firearms, consistent with applicable law.

(f)  The heads of Federal law enforcement agencies shall, as soon as practicable, but no later than 180 days from the date of this order, ensure that their respective law enforcement components issue National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) submission and utilization policies with requirements that are equivalent to, or exceed, the requirements of the policy issued by the Department of Justice on December 12, 2022, to ensure the prompt entry of ballistics data recovered in connection with criminal investigations into NIBIN.  In consultation with the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense policies may be tailored to address specific operational considerations.

(g)  The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Department of Justice, shall work to reduce the loss or theft of firearms during shipment between FFLs and to improve reporting of such losses or thefts, including by engaging with carriers and shippers.

(h)  The Federal Trade Commission is encouraged to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market firearms to minors and how such manufacturers market firearms to civilians, including through the use of military imagery.

Sec. 4.  Definitions.  For purposes of this order, the term “Federal law enforcement agency” means an organizational unit or subunit of the executive branch that employs officers who are authorized to make arrests and carry firearms, and that is responsible for the prevention, detection, and investigation of crime or the apprehension of alleged offenders.  The term “heads of Federal law enforcement agencies” means the heads of those units or subunits.

Sec. 5.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

  • the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

I  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.  THE WHITE HOUSE,  March 14, 2023.

Wrong Place—Wrong Time—Senseless Shootings

CNN put it this way—”Wrong Doorbell. Wrong Driveway. Wrong Car. In all three cases, a man opened fire rather than ask a simple question: ‘Do you mean to be here?’ This is not a story about mass shootings, AR-15s, or really even about gun laws. At least not yet. It’s about a country with more guns than people, where whatever inspires the 30% of Americans, who are most likely to be men, who own firearms has converged in dangerous and deadly ways with whatever fear, frustration or paranoia leads someone to shoot at a stranger or a car that’s driving away. These three shootings happened in less than a week around the country.

  1. In Kansas City, Missouri on April 13, 2023, two shots were fired at Ralph Yarl, a Black teen trying to pick up his brothers just before 10 p.m. By some miracle, he survived after being shot in the head.
  2. In rural upstate New York on April 15, 2023, two shots were fired from a porch at cars full of young people that had just turned around after looking for a party in the wrong driveway. Again, just before 10 p.m. Twenty year-old Kaylin Gillis was killed by the bullet that struck the car driven by her boyfriend.
  3. Outside Austin, Texas, on April 18, 2023, two cheerleaders were shot in a grocery store parking lot just after midnight. One of the girls, Heather Roth, accidentally tried to get in the wrong vehicle. She and her teammate, Payton Washington, were both struck. Roth was treated at the scene and Washington is recovering in the ICU.

All three shootings occurred after dark. All three shooters have been accused of serious crimes. There have already been stories about whether any of these cases might fall under so-called “stand your ground” laws that allow armed Americans in most states to defend their so-called “castle.”

We’ll leave it to the judicial process to determine how exactly Yarl, a 5’8” aspiring chemical engineer; a vehicle driving away from a house in New York; or teenage girls in a parking lot could possibly represent a deadly threat. What may tie all three cases is that the shooters don’t appear to have been interested in looking for answers. Yarl and Andrew Lester, the 84-year-old homeowner accused of opening fire, both told police that Lester almost immediately shot Yarl upon opening his front door. Yarl, wounded, ran to multiple houses asking for someone to call 911.

In upstate New York, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan, who has shown no remorse, according to the local sheriff, fired shots from his porch at two cars and a motorcycle that were driving away. “As soon as we figured out that we were at the wrong location, we started to leave, and that’s when everything happened,” Gillis’ boyfriend, Blake Walsh, told NBC. “My friend said, ‘They’re shooting — go!’ I tried to step on the gas as fast as I could, and that’s when the fatal shot (that struck Gillis) came through,” he said. ‘He just started shooting at all of us.’

The suspect in Austin, Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr., 25, Is also said to have simply opened fire. “I see the guy get out of the passenger door, and I rolled my window down, and I was trying to apologize to him,” Roth said, according to CNN’s report. “And then halfway, my window was down, and he just threw his hands up, and then he pulled out a gun and he just started shooting at all of us.”[69]

   USA Today reported on three other eerily similar cases. “A teenager in Louisiana was fatally shot after going to the wrong house while looking for a Halloween party. A young man in Georgia was gunned down after pulling into the wrong driveway when GPS led him astray. Another man died from a bullet in Atlanta after Lyft dropped him off at the wrong apartment. But these aren’t the “wrong place, wrong time” shootings that have been dominating media attention in recent days. They happened in 1992, 2013 and 2019. People are constantly told to be scared and to use guns to defend themselves, so we shouldn’t be shocked when this happens,’ says UCLA law professor Adam Winkler.

Deadly overreactions to ‘wrong place’ events have brought tragic consequences across the U.S. for decades. And many times, when they happen, there are calls for stronger gun control, questions about racist motivations, and pleas for tougher laws to protect innocent people from gun-wielding homeowners. But solutions have been elusive.

In the 1992 case, the death of Yoshihiro Hattori, a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student, caused reverberations around the world. Hattori, dressed in a white tuxedo in the style of Saturday Night Fever’s John Travolta, was fatally shot by a homeowner with a .44 Magnum revolver after Hattori went to the wrong address. The homeowner, arguing self-defense when he mistook a camera Hattori was carrying for a weapon, was found not guilty and courtroom spectators applauded when the verdict was announced.

The Japanese nation reacted strongly to the killing and the acquittal. Hattori’s parents campaigned for gun law reform in the U.S. and met in 1993 with President Bill Clinton, presenting him with a petition signed by 1.7 million Japanese citizens urging stronger gun control. And Hattori’s mother and father, still to this day, lobby the U.S. for gun reform and plead with world leaders not to forget the senseless death of their son.

Little has changed, however, and ‘wrong place’ shootings are still dominating the news, with incidents in Missouri, New York, and Texas in the past week. We currently live in a country that has normalized gun violence through any fears, through culture and laws that allow it, said Josh Horwitz, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. And what we’re now seeing is a horrific result of those efforts. Horwitz believes that while more Americans are presumably buying guns for self-defense, there surely will be an increase of reckless shooting incidents.

The bottom line Is we’re seeing more of It, a huge proliferation of firearms, of people not trained or skilled in firearms, and itchy trigger fingers. With more firearms in people’s hands, there are more chances for these types of incidents to occur.”[70]

The Los Angeles Times reported, “They were shot after pulling into the wrong driveway, ringing the wrong doorbell, getting into the wrong car in a parking lot. In the space of a single week, four young, unarmed Americans were shot after simple, everyday mistakes. One died. In a country home to the most armed populace on Earth, where fear of violent crime often reflects spin rather than statistics, and where ‘stand your ground’ laws proliferate, a simple mistake can turn deadly. Experts say the high-profile incidents highlight fast-moving and unique cultural and legal trends in the U.S., one of just a few countries with a constitutional right to carry guns. Dozens of ‘stand your ground’ state laws passed in the last 18 years have vastly transformed how Americans may think of the traditional right to self-defense.

As a nation, we are moving faster and faster in this direction where people think they have the right to shoot anyone who approaches them in any way while falsely believing we’re under increased danger. In reality, things are much different.”[71]

The Marshall Project expanded the wrong-place, wrong-time story with this headline, When Shoot-First Culture Meets Fear and Paranoia.

“At least seven people were shot — one fatally — for showing up at the wrong place, in separate incidents over the course of just six days earlier this month. Kaylin Gillis, 20, was shot and killed in Hebron, New York, as a car she was traveling in turned around in a stranger’s driveway. Ralph Yarl, 16, was shot in Kansas City, Missouri, after ringing the wrong doorbell. Payton Washington, 18, and Heather Roth, 21, were shot in Elgin, Texas after Washington accidentally got into, and then quickly exited, a stranger’s car in a parking lot. In Gaston County, North Carolina, when children went to retrieve a basketball from a stranger’s backyard, he allegedly came out of his house with a gun and fired, striking 6-year-old Kinsley White and her father.

Shortly after Yarl was shot, Kansas City police Chief Stacey Graves said that investigators would consider whether the shooter, 84-year-old Andrew Lester, might be protected by the state’s “stand your ground” laws, thrusting the legal concept into the national conversation in ways not seen since Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida over a decade ago. Stand your ground is frequently conflated with castle doctrine and self-defense law more broadly. All three legal concepts vary in their specifics from state to state, but every state has self-defense laws that allow a person to use deadly force if they cannot retreat, and if they reasonably believe it’s necessary to prevent imminent death or bodily harm. Most states also recognize some version of the castle doctrine, which gives people the right to use deadly force against an intruder in their home without attempting to retreat.

We are seeing the idea that we are a shoot-first culture, Joshua Horwitz, a gun violence researcher at Johns Hopkins University, told ABC News. Everybody seems to be afraid; they’ve been told to be afraid. A grandson of the man who shot Yarl said that his grandfather had become immersed in ‘a 24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia.’

Another theme in recent wrong-place shootings worth noting is youth. Of the shootings that have captured attention in recent weeks, all but one of the victims were 21 or younger. While there’s no evidence that young people are more likely to be victimized by this specific type of violence, gun deaths among U.S. minors are on the rise. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the number of children and teens who died from gunshot wounds rose 50% between 2019 and 2021, with gun violence overtaking car accidents as their leading cause of death in 2020. In a recent analysis of shootings in four major cities, Black children were 100 times more likely than White children to be victims of gun assaults. It’s also a uniquely American problem: The U.S. accounts for 97% of all child and teen firearm deaths among its peer countries.”[72]

But For The Presence Of A Gun

All firearm deaths have a simplistic connection. Someone, almost always a man, at the scene of the crime, has a gun. No two cases are exactly alike—different ages, guns, motives, defenses, victims, and legal outcomes. It’s true that more killings happen in rural settings, and very few are defensible. But still, there is one constant present. The gun. In tens of thousands of cases every year, but for the presence of a gun, no one would have died, gone to prison, or led a sad and dreary life after the shooting. No gun, no shooting, it’s that simple. That will never happen, nor should it. There will always be justifiable shooting. There will always be firearms in our homes. But we could do something about heavily armed men menacing innocent people for political reasons. We could do more about keeping guns out of the hands of people who will shoot and kill innocent people if they can. Most shooters care little whether they live or die, or are so mentally damaged that they shoot to kill, without rhyme or reason. At the very least we could reduce the quantity of military guns not designed for home defense, but for private offense. And, but for the presence of a gun, thousands of victims would live out their natural lives. It could be, as it is in thirteen states, a safer place to live; but for the presence of a gun.

Finis


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1996/03/09/a-second-look-at-the-second-amendment/4afbde43-582f-41d7-a8e8-bb0625bd46db/

[2] https://havokjournal.com/nation/a-second-look-at-the-second-amendment/

[3] http://ndsuspectrum.com/a-second-look-at-the-second-amendment/

[4] https://www.law.com/dailyreportonline/2018/03/08/a-second-look-at-the-second-amendment/

[5] 86 Ky. L.J. 197 (1997-1998)

[6] https://myemail.constantcontact.com/A-Second-Look-at-the-Second-Amendment.html

[7] https://digitalcommons.tourolaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1239&context=lawreview

[8] https://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article48501230.html

[9] https://guncontrol1johnson.wordpress.com/

[10] https://timeonhands.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/taking-a-second-for-a-second-look-at-the-second-amendment/

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

[12] https://www.bing.com/search?q=what+is+the+bill+of+rights

[13] https://constitutioncenter.org/the-constitution/amendments/amendment-ii/interpretations/99

[14] https://constitutioncenter.org/the-constitution/amendments/amendment-ii/interpretations/99

[15] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

[16] Ibid.

[17] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Cruikshank

[18] Ibid.

[19] Leonard W. Levy, et al., eds., Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, MacMillan/Professional Books, 1987.

[20] 383 U.S. 745

[21] 383 U.S. 745

[22] 425 U.S. 435

[23] 554 U.S. 570

[24] 561 U.S. 742

[25] Wash. U. L. Rev. 118, Lawrence Rosenthal

[26] 2 Con.Law. NOW 7, Patrick J. Charles

[27] 46 Pepp. L. Rev. 1  Corey A. Ciocchetti

[28] 83 Tenn. L. Rev. 231  Cody J. Jacobs

[29] 10 Alb. Gov’t L. Rev. 496  Roland K. Weekle

[30] 108 Calif. L. Rev. 63  Eric Ruben

[31] 115 Nw. U.L. Rev. 437  Shawn E. Fields

[32] 64 Stan. L. Rev. 1  Joseph Blocher

[33] 91 Tex. L. Rev. 49  Gregory P. Magarian

[34] 120 Mich. L. Rev. 581  Jacob D. Charles

[35] 64 Clev. St. L. Rev. 373  Patrick J. Charles

[36] 86 Miss. L. J. Supra 1  Nash E. Gilmore

[37] 47 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 167   David B. Kopel, Clayton E. Cramer, Joseph Edward Olson

[38] 2021 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1515  Catalin M. Johnson

[39] 38 Okla. City U.L. Rev. 395   Spencer Habluetzel

[40] 12 Drexel L. Rev. 331  Meagan Kelly

[41] 53 New Eng. L. Rev. 55 Matthew Hamel

[42] 32 Campbell L. Rev. 333   Matthew Jordan Cochran

[43] 55 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 2495  Darrell A. H. Miller & Jennifer Tucker & Melvin G. Shimm

[44] 109 Mich. L. Rev. 963  Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe

[45] https://www.npr.org/2018/03/01/589397317/repeal-the-second-amendment-thats-not-so-simple-here-s-what-it-would-take

[46] https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution

[47] https://www.npr.org/2018/03/01/589397317/repeal-the-second-amendment-thats-not-so-simple-here-s-what-it-would-take

[48] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-five-extra-words-that-can-fix-the-second-amendment/2014/04/11/f8a19578-b8fa-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

[49] Ibid.

[50] https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/how-nra-rewrote-second-amendment

[51] https://www.nraila.org/articles/20220621/nra-announces-opposition-to-senate-gun-control-legislation

[52] https://www.nytimes.com/explain/2023/gun-control

[53] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/26/us/republicans-gun-control.html

[54] https://www.foxnews.com/politics/nra-sues-democrat-governor-washington-states-new-blatantly-unconstitutional-gun-ban

[55] https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/25/us/washington-gun-control-bill.html

[56] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/in-major-ruling-for-gun-rights-supreme-court-strikes-down-new-york-law-on-firearm-permits

[57] 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022)

[58] https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/us-supreme-court-strikes-down-new-york-limits-concealed-handguns-2022-06-23/

[59] https://www.justice.gov/doj/page/file/1246661

[60] Ibid.

[61] https://everytownresearch.org/report/the-economic-cost-of-gun-violence/

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.

[64] https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/04/26/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/

[65] https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/map-gun-death-rates-lower-cities-than-rural-counties-rcna81462

[66] https://www.americanprogress.org/article/gun-violence-disproportionately-and-overwhelmingly-hurts-communities-of-color/

[67] https://www.preventioninstitute.org/focus-areas/preventing-violence-and-reducing-injury/preventing-violence-advocacy

[68] https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2020/01/gun-violence-control

[69] https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/19/politics/deadly-shootings-wrong-place-what-matters/index.html

[70] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/04/22/wrong-place-shootings-have-plagued-us-decades-despite-calls-reform/11700486002/

[71] https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2023-04-21/stand-your-ground-shootings

[72] https://www.themarshallproject.org/2023/04/29/gun-shooting-violence-self-defense

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