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Legal

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2010

Law and Society

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

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 ...