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Justifying Perceptions in First and Second Amendment Doctrine

Public perceptions often motivate policymakers. But what is the role of perceptions in defending regulations challenged as violating constitutional rights? First and Second Amendment doctrine provide a nuanced answer to that question, sometimes categorically rejecting and other times permitting shaping perceptions as a valid reason to regulate. This article explores evolving doctrine and explains why shaping some perceptions – like the perception of safety – may have a more legitimate role justifying firearm regulations than speech regulations.

Published: May 18, 2017