Magazine September 30, 2019, Issue

Heller’s Precarious Situation 

Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (Reuters/Alexander Drago)
Many courts are failing to uphold the Second Amendment

The Supreme Court’s 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms. Two years later, McDonald v. Chicago made that right enforceable against state and local governments.

The McDonald Court declared that the Second Amendment is not a “second-class right,” to be “singled out for special — and specially unfavorable — treatment.” In 2019, however, Heller is in a precarious situation: There have been numerous victories for gun rights, but many lower courts have in practice nullified the Second Amendment. Later this year, the Supreme Court may hear a case involving egregious

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David B. Kopel is the research director of the Independence Institute and an adjunct law professor at the University of Denver.

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