The Constitutional Case for Limiting Public Carry

Author(s): 
Lawrence Rosenthal
Publication Date: 
December 3, 2014

ACS is pleased to distribute “The Constitutional Case for Limiting Public Carry” by Lawrence Rosenthal, Professor of Law, Chapman University Fowler School of Law.

In 2008, in Heller v. District of Columbia, a divided Supreme Court held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, calling into question the viability of gun-safety regulations across the country. In this Issue Brief, Rosenthal asserts that even within the confines of an originalist reading of the Second Amendment, states and localities retain “ample power to enact prophylactic regulations” to address gun violence, including limiting the public carry of firearms. Rosenthal relies on extensive precedent in which the Supreme Court has balanced core constitutional rights and legitimate regulatory interests to argue that courts should show “considerable deference to legislative conclusions” that regulation of individuals’ right to bear arms is necessary to address gun violence. Rosenthal concludes that “[f]irearms rights and regulations have always been twinned... and nowhere is gun control more important than when it comes to the task of getting guns off the streetscape in our most violent and unstable neighborhoods.”