Gun Control

Guns and the Election: Still Not a Big Deal


In what is really the most glorious possible outcome in this post-Heller and post-McDonald world, guns and the Second Amendment continued to be something of little import in national elections yesterday.

Despite gun-rightsers fears of Obama I expect this will continue to be the case. (No point giving the GOP base a really good reason to get out and vote for them.)

Some in the American gun rights world are very alarmed that the administration today voted for more debate on a proposed United Nations' Arms Control Treaty, a debate that will resume in March. But I don't think they have any reason to believe such a treaty, if ever completed and enacted, will impact domestic gun owner rights.

David Kopel at does sum up his sense of how the cause of gun rights fared during yesterday's vote. He sees a net 1.5 plus with Ted Cruz now in the Senate from Texas (his experience as Texas solicitor general gave him great pro-Second Amendment knowledge and cred) and a net 12.5 loss in the House in terms of strong Second Amendment support.

Still, I don't expect legislating on guns to be a part of Congress's agenda in the near future anyway, despite this year's string of high-profile mass shootings. Gun control is blessedly for now a largely dead issue in American national politics.

At his Arms and the Law blog, gun scholar David Hardy celebrates something that happened in Louisiana this week: 

Louisiana has become the first State with a constitutional provision mandating strict scrutiny in reviewing the constitutionality of gun laws. With "shall-issue" having succeeded everywhere it's likely to, and some places where it wasn't likely, this may be the next wave.

Eugene Volokh wonders what Louisiana laws might fall with this new standard in place:

1. The New Orleans ban on stun guns should, I think, be especially clearly unconstitutional.

2. The denial of concealed gun carry permits to 18-to-20-year-olds ought to be particularly vulnerable as well. The recent NRA v. BATF (2d Cir. Oct. 25, 2012) held that the federal ban on dealer sales of handguns to 18-to-20-year-olds doesn't violate the Second Amendment, and the Court said in dictum in D.C. v. Heller that concealed carry restrictions generally don't violate the Second Amendment. But the more specific language of the Louisiana provision, coupled with the deletion of the concealed carry exception, might well make a difference.

From March, earlier blogging from me on the significance of scrutiny standards in evolving Second Amendment jurisprudence.

My book, Gun Control on Trial.