Protecting Gun Rights and Improving Gun Control after District of Columbia v. Heller

36 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2009

See all articles by Allen Rostron

Allen Rostron

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law

Date Written: May 14, 2009

Abstract

The Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, rejecting the narrow interpretation of the Second Amendment that most courts previously embraced, might seem to be a significant setback for gun control supporters and a major victory for gun rights advocates. Challenging that conventional wisdom, the author contends that Heller ultimately will help rather than hinder the push toward strong, sensible gun control laws. Justice Scalia’s opinion for the majority in Heller ultimately backs away from the most drastic implications of its reasoning and instead steers toward a more moderate approach under which virtually all existing gun laws should be upheld. Developments since Heller, including the continuing controversy over gun laws in the District of Columbia and the lower courts’ reactions to a wave of post-Heller challenges to the constitutionality of various federal and state gun laws, suggest that the ultimate effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller will be far less dramatic than many initially expected. In the long run, the Heller decision’s most important effect may be to reduce the intensity and bitterness of the nation’s political and cultural debate over guns. By confirming that reasonable gun regulations will not lead to extreme measures like prohibition of all guns, Heller may turn out to be an important victory for both gun control and gun rights.

Keywords: Guns, Gun control, Gun rights, Heller, Second Amendment, Gun laws

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K23 K40, K42

Suggested Citation

Rostron, Allen K., Protecting Gun Rights and Improving Gun Control after District of Columbia v. Heller (May 14, 2009). Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 383-418, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1516567

Allen K. Rostron (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law ( email )

5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
783
Abstract Views
3,971
rank
31,400
PlumX Metrics