25 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 14, 2012
In the same opinion in which it recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms, the Supreme Court suggested that the mentally ill are excluded. This article rejects that suggestion and considers three possible levels of constitutional scrutiny. At the lowest level of scrutiny, all current laws restricting gun possession by the mentally ill are likely constitutional; at the highest level, none. The action is in the middle. Such laws are generally grounded on a perception that the mentally ill are dangerous to others. Most are not, but virtually all are at significantly higher risk of suicide. In the end, suicide, not violence, prevention is the rationale most likely to provide adequate constitutional footing for present policies.
Keywords: Second Amendment, Mental Illness, Violence, Suicide, Gun Control, Heller
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Vars, Fredrick E. and Adcock, Amanda E., Do the Mentally Ill Have a Right to Bear Arms? (September 14, 2012). Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2012; U of Alabama Public Law Research Paper No. 2146767. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2146767