Over the last year, peaceful demonstrators across the United States have been met by armed individuals and self-proclaimed “militias.” Between January 2020 and June 2021, at least 560 protests included the presence of armed individuals other than law enforcement. One out of six of those demonstrations reported violent or destructive activity, according to research from Everytown for Gun Safety.
Can speech be free when armed counter-protesters mix with unarmed protesters? What does this tension between the freedoms protected by our Constitution’s First and Second Amendments bode for democracy? And should state laws regarding the presence of guns at polling places be strengthened?
To answer these questions — and look at what this looming conflict may mean in the Supreme Court — Brennan Center Fellow Eric Ruben (SMU Dedman School of Law) joins a group of prominent legal scholars: Mary Anne Franks (University of Miami School of Law), Darrell Miller (Duke University School of Law), Eugene Volokh (UCLA School of Law), and Timothy Zick (William & Mary Law School).
This event is produced in partnership with New York University’s John Brademas Center.
- Dr. Mary Anne Franks, Professor of Law and Michael R. Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair, University of Miami School of Law; Author of The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech
- Darrell A.H. Miller, Melvin G. Shimm Professor of Law, Duke University Law School; Author of The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation, and the Future of Heller (with Joseph Blocher)
- Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA Law; Founder and Coauthor of The Volokh Conspiracy, a leading legal blog
- Tim Zick, John Marshall Professor of Government and Citizenship and William H. Cabell Research Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School
- Moderator: Eric Ruben, Assistant Professor, SMU Dedman School of Law; Fellow, Brennan Center for Justice
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