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The extraordin­ary events of the past year chal­lenge us to assess anew many of our insti­tu­tions, laws, and freedoms. This essay series addresses one piece of that broader assess­ment: gun rights and regu­la­tion.

While some comment­at­ors have concluded that the recent tumult ration­al­izes gun rights and justi­fies loosen­ing gun restric­tions, the schol­ars in this series consider other perspect­ives. They explore whether expans­ive gun rights have contrib­uted to the very instabil­ity we have witnessed, noting that armed civil­ian groups often warp Amer­ican tradi­tions, miscon­strue fram­ing era philo­sophy, defy the rule of law, and threaten demo­cratic norms. They seek to put defens­ive gun use into context and exam­ine how gun carry­ing can suppress speech and other freedoms. They probe the complic­ated rela­tion­ship between guns and race, poli­cing, domestic viol­ence, and repub­lican govern­ment.

In the coming year, the Supreme Court will decide a major Second Amend­ment case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Asso­ci­ation Inc. v. Bruen,* and the debate over gun rights and regu­la­tion will likely intensify. We hope that this series informs and improves that debate.

Eric Ruben
Assist­ant Professor, SMU Dedman School of Law
Fellow, Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

* — The case name has changed to reflect the new super­in­tend­ent of the New York State Police.

The Bren­nan Center grate­fully acknow­ledges the Joyce Found­a­tion for their gener­ous support of our work.

Photo Illus­tra­tion: George Fry, Daniel Slim, Barbara Alper/Getty