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Will the Supreme Court Avoid Further Self-Inflicted Second Amendment Wounds?

Summary: In light of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the time has come to reject the specious mask of zeal for unlimited gun rights that has become a mainstay of too many American politicians.

  • John Donohue John J. Donohue
Published: June 29, 2021

This essay is part of the series Protests, Insur­rec­tion, and the Second Amend­ment.

ABSTRACT: The Janu­ary 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has import­ant lessons for much of the wide­spread, current Second Amend­ment litig­a­tion designed to erad­ic­ate bene­fi­cial gun safety regu­la­tion across the coun­try. First, the value of Wash­ing­ton, DC, laws in constrain­ing the gun carry­ing of the riot­ous crowd was evid­ent and likely saved many lives. Second, flir­ta­tions with the idea that armed citizens should be ready to fight the federal govern­ment were shown to be absurd: there is no circum­stance in which private citizens in modern Amer­ica could promote demo­cracy by using assault weapons to kill govern­ment employ­ees to show their disap­proval of what they perceive to be “tyran­nical” govern­ment. Third, the idea that gun owners can be expec­ted to oppose rather than support a tyrant was dealt a fatal blow by the viol­ence at the U.S. Capitol. The time has come to earn­estly acknow­ledge and embrace the wise restraints on fire­arms that make the Amer­ican public free and to reject the specious mask of zeal for unlim­ited gun rights that has become a main­stay of too many Amer­ican politi­cians.


Will the Supreme Court Avoi… by The Bren­nan Center for Justice