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Aliens With Guns: Equal Protection, Federal Power, and the Second Amendment

Pratheepan Gulasekaram

Santa Clara University School of Law

Iowa Law Review, Vol. 92, p. 891, 2007

The nexus between guns and alienage presents a window through which to assess the competing constitutional values embodied in the Equal Protection Clause, the federal foreign-affairs power, and the Second Amendment. This Article analyzes the application of equal-protection norms and the federal foreign-affairs power on federal and state statutes that restrict the ability of non-citizens to bear arms. Professor Gulasekaram argues that courts should evaluate alienage restrictions at both the state and federal level under a unified analytic framework that would attempt to reconcile both personhood norms, such as equality, and gate-keeping norms vindicated by reliance on federal-power doctrines. As a result, the power of the federal government to legislate with regard to non-citizens would be reduced while concurrently allowing greater flexibility for states and localities.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 61

Keywords: aliens, alienage, gun, firearms, right to bear arms, equal protection, preemption, federal power, federalism, states' rights, citizenship, political function, second amendment

JEL Classification: K30, K39, K10, K19

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Date posted: August 16, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Gulasekaram, Pratheepan, Aliens With Guns: Equal Protection, Federal Power, and the Second Amendment. Iowa Law Review, Vol. 92, p. 891, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=924396

Contact Information

Pratheepan Gulasekaram (Contact Author)
Santa Clara University School of Law ( email )
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408.554.4188 (Phone)
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