The Right to Bear (Robotic) Arms

42 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2012 Last revised: 5 Aug 2015

Date Written: July 26, 2012


Can robotic weapons be “Arms” under the Second Amendment? This Article argues that they can. In particular, it challenges the claim that the Second Amendment protects only weapons that can be carried in one’s hands, which has roots in both Supreme Court Second Amendment doctrine (District of Columbia v. Heller) and scholarship. Scrutinizing these roots shows that Heller did not intend to create such a requirement and that little, if any, constitutional basis for it exists.

This Article also contextualizes robotic weapons within the established Second Amendment framework for arms. Robotic weapons are not yet arms, but there is no legal impediment — nor should there be — to them becoming arms.

Finally this Article presents an alternative theory of Second Amendment protection for robotic weapons based on auxiliary rights, in light of the Seventh Circuit case United States v. Ezell. It posits that Second Amendment auxiliary rights include the right to employ a bodyguard, whether human or robot.

Keywords: Second Amendment, Constitution, Robots, Firearms, Guns, Technology

Suggested Citation

Terzian, Dan, The Right to Bear (Robotic) Arms (July 26, 2012). 117 Penn State Law Review 755 (2013), Available at SSRN: or

Dan Terzian (Contact Author)

Duane Morris LLP ( email )

United States

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