The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago were important, symbolically and in the long term (because symbolism often matters in the long term). But the concealed-carry revolution, carried on over the last 30 years in state legislatures throughout the country, has been much more practically significant: From about ten states in 1986 in which pretty much any law-abiding adult could get a license to carry a concealed gun (or didn't even a license), we've moved to about forty such states (see the animation below, by Jeff Dege). And with a very few exceptions—mainly Illinois, which went shall-issue as a result of Second Amendment litigation, and perhaps Vermont, which hasn't required a license since a 1903 Vermont Supreme Court state constitutional right to bear arms case—this has stemmed from legislative victories. As Glenn says,
There are two lessons [here]…. One is that courts can't always be counted on. The other is that there are other ways to protect civil rights than filing a lawsuit. Just as Brown v. Board of Education got the desegregation ball rolling, but it took the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a decade later, to really affect institutions, I think it's fair to say that the Heller decision made a difference, but legislation is having more of an actual impact.
[UPDATE: To see an animated version of the item below, click here; I'm not sure why this version doesn't come out animated.]