Koppelman’s Two Gun Minimum

At Balkinization, Andy Koppelman has witty – and wise – rejoinder to the discussion Nick and I have had here about the plural of “Arms“:

If this strict textualism is to be followed, there is an interesting implication: perhaps there is only a right to bear “arms” – plural – but not to bear a single arm, about which the Constitution is silent … There are some attractions to this as a matter of policy. If the price of carrying a gun is that you have to carry two, most people will find this literally too heavy a price to pay. Guns weigh a lot. So a government that wants to minimize the amount of artillery on the street might well want to pursue this.

I comment on this excellent point at Balkinization. Here I might add that Koppelman’s hypothetical – that requiring people to carry two guns would be a massive burden – only illustrates the severity of currently permissible (or at least on the books) burdens. One could carry a second revoler that costs only slightly more than the Illinois mandatory carry-license fee of $150, and that (amazingly) weighs, unloaded, less than an Iphone, and more importantly, far less than the difference in weight between most ten and 15 rounds of ammunition. Thus if the choice were a binary one between a two-gun minimum, which Koppleman sees as impractical, and the comprehensive package of Illinois carry restrictions, one might see the former as actually less onerous.


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