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Full-Text Articles in Law

Does The Second Amendment Protect Firearms Commerce?, David B. Kopel Apr 2104

Does The Second Amendment Protect Firearms Commerce?, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

The Second Amendment protects the operation of businesses which provide Second Amendment services, including gun stores. Although lower federal courts have split on the issue, the right of firearms commerce is demonstrated by the original history of the Second Amendment, confirmed by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, and consistent with the Court's precedents on other individual rights.


The History Of Firearm Magazines And Magazine Prohibitions, David B. Kopel Jan 2015

The History Of Firearm Magazines And Magazine Prohibitions, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

In recent years, the prohibition of firearms magazines has become an important topic of law and policy debate. This Article details the history of magazines and of magazine prohibition.

Because ten rounds is an oft-proposed figure for magazine bans, Part I of the Article provides the story of such magazines from the earliest sixteenth century onward. Although some people think that multi-shot guns did not appear until Samuel Colt invented the revolver in the 1830s, multi-shot guns predate Col. Colt by over two centuries.

Especially because the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller considers whether arms ...


The Posse Comitatus And The Office Of Sheriff: Armed Citizens Summoned To The Aid Of Law Enforcement, David B. Kopel Jan 2015

The Posse Comitatus And The Office Of Sheriff: Armed Citizens Summoned To The Aid Of Law Enforcement, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Posse comitatus is the legal power of sheriffs and other officials to summon armed citizens to aid in keeping the peace. The posse comitatus can be traced back as least as far as the reign of Alfred the Great in ninth century England. The institution thrives today in the United States; a study of Colorado finds many county sheriffs have active posses. Like the law of the posse comitatus, the law of the office of sheriff has been remarkably stable for over a millennium. This Article presents the history and law of the posse comitatus and the office of sheriff ...


Ancient Hebrew Militia Law, David B. Kopel Jan 2013

Ancient Hebrew Militia Law, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

The history of the laws of warfare and of arms possession in the ancient Hebrew kingdoms.


Knives And The Second Amendment, David B. Kopel, Claytom E. Cramer, Joseph P. Olson Jan 2013

Knives And The Second Amendment, David B. Kopel, Claytom E. Cramer, Joseph P. Olson

David B Kopel

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 ...


Mexico's Gun Control Laws: A Model For The United States?, David B. Kopel Jan 2013

Mexico's Gun Control Laws: A Model For The United States?, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This article explicates Mexico’s constitutional right to arms and Mexico’s main gun-control statute, the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives (Ley Federal de Armas de Fuego y Explosivos). Along the way, the article notes various proposals to move U.S. gun laws in a Mexican direction.

Part II of this article is an English translation of the Mexican constitution’s guarantee of the right to arms, as well as predecessor versions of the guarantee.

Part III explains the operation of Mexico’s gun-control system and provides some historical and statistical information about gun ownership and gun smuggling in ...


Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, And Guns: The Synergistic Constitutional Effects, David B. Kopel, Trevor Burrus Jan 2013

Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, And Guns: The Synergistic Constitutional Effects, David B. Kopel, Trevor Burrus

David B Kopel

In this Article, we discuss the synergistic relationship between the wars‖ on drugs, guns, alcohol, sex, and gambling, and how that relationship has helped illegitimately increase the power of the federal government over the past century. The Constitution never granted Congress the general police power‖ to legislate on health, safety, welfare, and morals; the police power was reserved to the States. Yet over the last century, federal laws against guns, alcohol, gambling, and some types of sex have encroached on the police powers traditionally reserved to the states.

Congress‘s infringement of the States‘ powers over the health, safety, welfare ...


How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel Jan 2012

How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Abstract: This Article chronologically reviews the British gun control which precipitated the American Revolution: the 1774 import ban on firearms and gun powder; the 1774-75 confiscations of firearms and gun powder, from individuals and from local governments; and the use of violence to effectuate the confiscations. It was these events which changed a situation of rising political tension into a shooting war. Each of these British abuses provides insights into the scope of the modern Second Amendment.

From the events of 1774-75, we can discern that import restrictions or bans on firearms or ammunition are constitutionally suspect — at least if ...


The Great Gun Control War Of The Twentieth Century--And Its Lessons For Gun Laws Today, David B. Kopel Jan 2012

The Great Gun Control War Of The Twentieth Century--And Its Lessons For Gun Laws Today, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

A movement to ban handguns began in the 1920s in the Northeast, led by the conservative business establishment. In response, the National Rifle Association began to get involved in politics, and was able to defeat handgun prohibition. Gun control and gun rights became the subjects of intense political, social, and cultural battles for much of the rest of the 20th century, and into the 21st.

Often, the battles were a clash of absolutes: One side contended that there was absolutely no right to arms, that defensive gun ownership must be prohibited, and that gun ownership for sporting purposes could be ...


Bad News For John Marshall, David B. Kopel, Gary Lawson Dec 2011

Bad News For John Marshall, David B. Kopel, Gary Lawson

David B Kopel

In Bad News for Professor Koppelman: The Incidental Unconstitutionality of the Individual Mandate, we demonstrated that the individual mandate’s forced participation in commercial transactions cannot be justified under the Necessary and Proper Clause as the Clause was interpreted in McCulloch v. Maryland. Professor Andrew Koppelman’s response, Bad News for Everybody, wrongly conflates that argument with a wide range of interpretative and substantive positions that are not logically entailed by taking seriously the requirement that laws enacted under the Necessary and Proper Clause must be incidental to an enumerated power. His response is thus largely unresponsive to our actual ...


“Health Laws Of Every Description”: John Marshall’S Ruling On A Federal Health Care Law, David B. Kopel, Robert G. Natelson Jun 2011

“Health Laws Of Every Description”: John Marshall’S Ruling On A Federal Health Care Law, David B. Kopel, Robert G. Natelson

David B Kopel

If John Marshall, the greatest of Chief Justices, were to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, how would he rule? Would the nationalist justice who, according to the New Deal Supreme Court, “described the Federal commerce power with a breadth never yet exceeded,” agree that federal control of health care was within that power?

In the fictional opinion below, Marshall rules on the constitutionality of a bill similar to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

We constructed this opinion chiefly from direct quotation and paraphrases of Marshall’s own ...


Bad News For Professor Koppelman: The Incidental Unconstitutionality Of The Individual Mandate, David B. Kopel, Gary Lawson Jan 2011

Bad News For Professor Koppelman: The Incidental Unconstitutionality Of The Individual Mandate, David B. Kopel, Gary Lawson

David B Kopel

In "Bad News for Mail Robbers: The Obvious Constitutionality of Health Care Reform," Professor Andrew Koppelman concludes that the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is constitutionally authorized as a law "necessary and proper for carrying into Execution" other aspects of the PPACA. However, the Necessary and Proper Clause rather plainly does not authorize the individual mandate. The Necessary and Proper Clause incorporates basic norms drawn from eighteenth-century agency law, administrative law, and corporate law. From agency law, the clause embodies the venerable doctrine of principals and incidents: a law enacted under the clause must ...


The Right To Arms In The Living Constitution, David B. Kopel Jan 2010

The Right To Arms In The Living Constitution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This Article presents a brief history of the Second Amendment as part of the living Constitution. From the Early Republic through the present, the American public has always understood the Second Amendment as guaranteeing a right to own firearms for self-defense. That view has been in accordance with élite legal opinion, except for a period in part of the twentieth century.

"Living constitutionalism" should be distinguished from "dead constitutionalism." Under the former, courts looks to objective referents of shared public understanding of constitutional values. Examples of objective referents include state constitutions, as well as federal or state laws to protect ...


State Court Standards Of Review For The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer Jan 2010

State Court Standards Of Review For The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer

David B Kopel

Cases on the right to arms in state constitutions can provide useful guidance for courts addressing Second Amendment issues. Although some people have claimed that state courts always use a highly deferential version of "reasonableness," this article shows that many courts have employed rigorous standards, including the tools of strict scrutiny, such as overbreadth, narrow tailoring, and less restrictive means. Courts have also used categoricalism (deciding whether something is inside or outside the right) and narrow construction (to prevent criminal laws from conflicting with the right to arms). Even when formally applying "reasonableness," many courts have used reasonableness as a ...


The Keystone Of The Second Amendment: Quakers, The Pennsylvania Constitution, And The Questionable Scholarship Of Nathan Kozuskanich, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer Jan 2010

The Keystone Of The Second Amendment: Quakers, The Pennsylvania Constitution, And The Questionable Scholarship Of Nathan Kozuskanich, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer

David B Kopel

Historian Nathan Kozuskanich claims that the Second Amendment-like the arms provision of the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution-is only a guarantee of a right of individuals to participate in the militia, in defense of the polity. Kozuskanich’s claim about the Second Amendment is based on two articles he wrote about the original public meaning of the right to arms in Pennsylvania, including the 1776 and 1790 Pennsylvania constitutional arms guarantees.

Part I of this Article provides a straightforward legal history of the right to arms provisions in the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution and of the 1790 Pennsylvania Constitution. We examine Kozuskanich’s ...


Commerce In The Commerce Clause: A Response To Jack Balkin, David B. Kopel, Robert G. Natelson Jan 2010

Commerce In The Commerce Clause: A Response To Jack Balkin, David B. Kopel, Robert G. Natelson

David B Kopel

The Constitution’s original meaning is its meaning to those ratifying the document during a discrete time period: from its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in late 1787 until Rhode Island’s ratification on May 29, 1790. Reconstructing it requires historical skills, including a comprehensive approach to sources. Jack Balkin’s article Commerce fails to consider the full range of evidence and thereby attributes to the Constitution’s Commerce Clause a scope that virtually no one in the Founding Era believed it had.


The Second Amendment In The Tenth Circuit: Three Decades Of (Mostly) Harmless Error, David B. Kopel Jan 2009

The Second Amendment In The Tenth Circuit: Three Decades Of (Mostly) Harmless Error, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This article provides a detailed analysis of all Second Amendment cases which have been decided by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The article examines the Circuit's superficial reasoning in its claims that the Second Amendment protects only militiamen, and the Circuit's refusal even to address important sources of authority which took a different view. Most of the Circuit's cases involving the Second Amendment are no longer good law, but in the post-Heller future, the Circuit can get to similiar results in most cases, since the cases involved bans on weapons that are not protected by the ...


The Human Right Of Self-Defense, David B. Kopel, Paul Gallant, Joanne D. Eisen Jan 2008

The Human Right Of Self-Defense, David B. Kopel, Paul Gallant, Joanne D. Eisen

David B Kopel

The United Nations Human Rights Council has declared that there is no human right to self-defense. Moreover, the Council has ordered all governments to enact very restrictive gun laws (more severe than those of Washington, D.C., or New York City, for example), and has declared that failure to enact such laws constitutes a human rights violation. Further, the HRC states that it is a human rights violation for a government to allow person to use a firearm in self-defense against a rapist or other criminal who is not attempting homicide.

This Article critically examines the HRC's claims by ...


Dhimmitude And Disarmament, David B. Kopel Jan 2008

Dhimmitude And Disarmament, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Under shari'a law, non-Muslims, known as dhimmi, have been forbidden to possess arms, and to defend themselves from attacks by Muslims. The disarmament is one aspect of the pervasive civil inferiority of non-Muslims, a status known as dhimmitude. This Essay examines the historical effects of the shari'a disarmament, based on three books by Bat Ye'or, the world's leading scholar of dhimmitude. As Ye'or details, the disarmament had catastrophic consequences, extending far beyond the direct loss of the dhimmi's ability to defend themselves. The essay concludes by observing how pretend gun-free zones on college campuses ...


The Natural Right Of Self-Defense: Heller's Lesson For The World, David B. Kopel Jan 2008

The Natural Right Of Self-Defense: Heller's Lesson For The World, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller constitutionalized the right of self-defense, and described self-defense as a natural, inherent right. Analysis of natural law in Heller shows why Justice Stevens' dissent is clearly incorrect, and illuminates a crucial weakness in Justice Breyer's dissent. The constitutional recognition of the natural law right of self-defense has important implications for American law, and for foreign and international law.


Self-Defense In Asian Religions, David B. Kopel Jan 2007

Self-Defense In Asian Religions, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This Article investigates the attitudes of six Far Eastern religions - Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism - towards the legitimacy of the use of force in individual and collective contexts. Self-defense is strongly legitimated in the theory and practice of the major Far Eastern religions. The finding is consistent with natural law theory that some aspects of the human personality, including the self-defense instinct, are inherent in human nature, rather than being entirely determined by culture.


Armed Resistance To The Holocaust, David B. Kopel Jan 2007

Armed Resistance To The Holocaust, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Contrary to myth of Jewish passivity, many Jews did fight back during the Holocaust. They shut down the extermination camp at Sobibor, rose up in the Warsaw Ghetto, and fought in the woods and swamps all over Eastern Europe. Indeed, Jews resisted at a higher rate than did any other population under Nazi rule. The experience of the Holocaust shows why Jews, and all people of good will, should support the right of potential genocide victims to possess defensive arms, and refutes the notion that violence is necessarily immoral.


The Catholic Second Amendment, David B. Kopel Jan 2006

The Catholic Second Amendment, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

At the beginning of the second millennium, there was no separation of church and state, and kings ruled the church. Tyrannicide was considered sinful. By the end of the thirteenth century, however, everything had changed. The Little Renaissance that began in the eleventh century led to a revolution in political and moral philosophy, so that using force to overthrow a tyrannical government became a positive moral duty. The intellectual revolution was an essential step in the evolution of Western political philosophy that eventually led to the American Revolution.


The Scottish And English Religious Roots Of The American Right To Arms: Buchanan, Rutherford, Locke, Sidney, And The Duty To Overthrow Tyranny, David B. Kopel Jan 2005

The Scottish And English Religious Roots Of The American Right To Arms: Buchanan, Rutherford, Locke, Sidney, And The Duty To Overthrow Tyranny, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Many twenty-first century Americans believe that they have a God-given right to possess arms as a last resort against tyranny. One of the most important sources of that belief is the struggle for freedom of conscience in the United Kingdom during the reigns of Elizabeth I and the Stuarts. A moral right and duty to use force against tyranny was explicated by the Scottish Presbyterians George Buchanan and Samuel Rutherford. The free-thinking English Christians John Locke and Algernon Sidney broadened and deepened the ideas of Buchanan and Rutherford. The result was a sophisticated defense of religious freedom, which was to ...


The Religious Roots Of The American Revolution And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel Jan 2005

The Religious Roots Of The American Revolution And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This article examines the religious background of the American Revolution. The article details how the particular religious beliefs of the American colonists developed so that the American people eventually came to believe that overthrowing King George and Parliament was a sacred obligation. The religious attitudes which impelled the Americans to armed revolution are an essential component of the American ideology of the right to keep and bear arms.


Self-Defense: The Equalizer, David B. Kopel, Linda Gorman Jan 2000

Self-Defense: The Equalizer, David B. Kopel, Linda Gorman

David B Kopel

Experiments in tightening gun-control laws have eroded the right of self defense and failed to stop serious crime. Studies Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.


The Evolving Police Power: Some Observations For A New Century, David B. Kopel, Glenn Harlan Reynolds Jan 2000

The Evolving Police Power: Some Observations For A New Century, David B. Kopel, Glenn Harlan Reynolds

David B Kopel

A review of state and federal courts decisions on the scope of state police powers suggests that the shift from the more restrictive sic utere principle to the more open salus populi principle may be reversing, with courts -- at least in cases involving sex and marriage -- taking a much more skeptical view of government objectives and justifications.


Tench Coxe And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, 1787-1823, David B. Kopel Jan 1999

Tench Coxe And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, 1787-1823, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Tench Coxe, a member of the second rank of this nation's Founders and a leading proponent of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, wrote prolifically about the right to keep and bear arms. In this Article, the authors trace Coxe's story, from his early writings in support of the Constitution, through his years of public service, to his political writings in opposition to the presidential campaigns of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The authors note that Coxe described the Second Amendment as guaranteeing an individual right, and believed that an individual right to bear arms was ...


All The Way Down The Slippery Slope: Gun Prohibition In England And Some Lessons For Civil Liberties In America, David B. Kopel, Joseph Olson Jan 1999

All The Way Down The Slippery Slope: Gun Prohibition In England And Some Lessons For Civil Liberties In America, David B. Kopel, Joseph Olson

David B Kopel

Whenever civil liberties issues are contested, proponents of greater restrictions often chide civil liberties defenders for being unwilling to offer moderate concessions. Frequently, persons advocating restrictions on civil liberties claim that the "moderate" restriction will not infringe the core civil liberty. When rights advocates raise the "slippery slope" argument, they are criticized for being excessively fearful. The goal of the article is to refine our understanding of "slippery slopes" by examining a case in which a civil liberty really did slide all the way down the slippery slope.

The right to arms in Great Britain was entirely unrestricted at the ...


Taking Federalism Seriously: Lopez And The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, David B. Kopel, Glenn Harlan Reynolds Jan 1997

Taking Federalism Seriously: Lopez And The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, David B. Kopel, Glenn Harlan Reynolds

David B Kopel

In United States v. Lopez, the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal Gun Free School Zones law as not within congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. This article examines post-Lopez jurisprudence regarding the permissible scope of federal criminal law. Analyzing a wide variety of federal criminal laws challenged in post-Lopez cases (including arson, robbery, gun possession, drugs, violence against women, and abortion clinic disruption), the article shows how courts have followed or evaded Lopez. Studying the proposed federal ban on partial birth abortions, the article suggests that the ban is not a lawful exercise of Congress' interstate commerce ...