Do the Mentally Ill Have a Right to Bear Arms?
Fredrick E. Vars
University of Alabama - School of Law
Amanda E. Adcock
affiliation not provided to SSRN
September 14, 2012
Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2012
U of Alabama Public Law Research Paper No. 2146767
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: Second Amendment, Mental Illness, Violence, Suicide, Gun Control, Heller
Date posted: September 15, 2012