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Public Law & Legal Theory


In New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass'n v. Bruen, the Supreme Court held unconstitutional a New York Statute that, as construed by the state courts, allowed an individual to carry a firearm outside her home or business for purposes of self-defense only if she could show licensing authorities "a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community." By a vote of six-to-three, the Court concluded that this statute violated the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment and applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court announced a general standard for applying the Second Amendment that, in the year following its decision, led lower courts to invalidate dozens of state and federal firearms regulations. Shortly after Bruen’s anniversary, on the last day of its 2022–23 Term, the Court agreed to review a Fifth Circuit decision striking down a federal statute barring people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. The Court also seemed likely to review conflicting rulings by the Third and Eighth Circuits on the validity of a federal law forbidding firearm possession by convicted felons.



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