The Volokh Conspiracy

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Alabama constitutional right to bear arms strengthened, by 72%-28% vote


(FILES) In this May 4, 2013 file photo, a convention goer picks up a Ruger 1911 model .45 semi-auto gandgun at the NRA Annual Convention May 4, 2013 in Houston, Texas. In a 19-page opinion, Judge Frederick Scullin on July 26, 2014 ruled that "there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. "Therefore," Scullin wrote, "the Court finds that the District of Columbia's complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional." AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER / FILESKAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

The provision had earlier read, "that every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state"; it will now read,

(a) Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

(b) No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or international law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state, if such treaty or law, or its adoption, violates the United States Constitution.

The second provision is a political statement, with little legal effect—if a treaty or law violates the U.S. Constitution, then it is unconstitutional even without a provision in the Alabama Constitution. But the first provision would impose a more demanding test for gun controls, though not an insuperable test (see this case upholding a limited ban on gun possession by felons under strict scrutiny). Similar restrictions have recently been enacted in Louisiana and Missouri.