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Do the Mentally Ill Have a Right to Bear Arms?

25 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2012  

Fredrick E. Vars

University of Alabama - School of Law

Amanda E. Adcock

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 14, 2012

Abstract

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

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

Fredrick E. Vars (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

Amanda E. Adcock

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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