Northwestern U.L.Sch. 2009 Firearms Law & The Second Amendment Symposium:

To be held this Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cosponsored by the Northwestern University Law School chapter of the Federalist Society and the NRA Foundation.

Panel 1 is 9-10:30, on "Second Amendment Law and the Practicioner." Speakers are Christopher Conte, Richard Gardiner, Ken Hanson, and Willam Howard.

Panel 2 is 10:45-12:15, "The Second Amendment and Constitutional Interpretation." Speakers are Nelson Lund, Allen Rostron, and me. I will be speaking about the Second Amendment in the Living Constitution.

The final panel is "The Scope of the Second Amendment," with Nicholas Johnson, Michael O'Shea, and Clayton Cramer, 1:30-3.

Some recent interesting scholarship by the panelists includes:

Rostron: Incrementalism, Comprehensive Rationality, and the Future of Gun Control, Maryland Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 3, 2008--an explanation of how federal gun laws have been created incrementally, with the resulting product not being particularly coherent or rational. Cease Fire: A 'Win-Win' Strategy on Gun Policy for the Obama Administration, Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2009. Obama should say that he will support new legislation which advances gun control AND gun rights. Roston provides a menu of gun control choices which he argues will have little if any effect on law-abiding gun owners, plus a list of gun rights proposals which have been offered in Congress recently. A bill which contains items from both Column A and Column B would best reflect American public attitudes, he argues.

O'Shea: The Right to Defensive Arms After District of Columbia v. Heller, 111 West Virginia Law Review 349 (2009). Outstanding explanation of the civic vs. personal firearms right strands in Miller and Heller, and the implications of Heller's decision to give priority to personal use.

Lund: Heller and Nonlethal Weapons, Hastings Law Journal, Forthcoming. Heller's "common use" test for permitted arms could allow a government to stifle innovative firearms. (The O'Shea article also addresses this issue.) The Court should abandon the "common use" dicta, and instead apply the principle of Kyllo v. United States that the Constitution keeps up with technological development. This is particularly important in light of new non-lethal defensive arms which may become available.

Cramer: Gun Control: Political Fears Trump Crime Control, Maine Law Review, 61:1[2009] 57-81. Great Britain's Firearms Act of 1920 was mainly enacted in response to fears of political unrest, involving suffragettes, trade unionists, Irish, and (especially post-WWI) Commununists and the lower classes in general.

Johnson: Imagining Gun Control in America: Understanding the Remainder Problem, Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 43, 2008. Even without the impediment of Heller, many supply-side gun controls could be nearly impossible to implement effectively. Proposals regarding registration, special restrictions on gun shows, gun rationing (e.g., "one gun a month"), ballistic fingerprinting, and smart guns are examined in light of the remainder problem.