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Gun Control and the Courts

NCJ Number
Martin L. Forst
Date Published
259 pages
In order to clarify the legal aspects of gun control, this book presents cases regarding how the U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal appellate courts have interpreted the second amendment and other relevant constitutional provisions, from the earliest appellate cases to the present.
The book presents the leading Federal appellate court cases regarding gun control. The cases are primarily from the U.S. Supreme Court, although some cases were decided by the "lower" appellate courts, usually the U.S. Courts of Appeal. The cases are generally presented in chronological order, so the reader can better understand the legal and historical foundations for later decisions. The cases relating to State and local gun control legislation are presented first, followed by the cases relating to Federal gun control laws. The book intends to present the full text of the cases, so that the reader can see the specific wording of the court decisions. In some cases, however, the text of the cases has been edited. First, sections of some cases have been omitted if they were not directly relevant to the issue of gun control or related constitutional matters. Second, for the sake of brevity, concurring and dissenting opinions have been left out. Third, some footnotes have been omitted if they are not directly related to the case decision. At the beginning of each case, the editor provides a brief introduction, giving the historical background, specific legal citation, and the basic ruling of the case. In an introductory summary, the editor notes that the second-amendment attacks on Federal gun control statutes have not been successful, and there is no legal provision for requiring that State laws and local ordinances abide by the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is clear that the Federal courts are willing to give Congress broad discretion in exploring the permissible boundaries of Federal intervention in developing national gun control policy. Twelve cases are presented.