Should the Future Be Determined by the Past? Bearing Arms After Bruen.

Professor Nelson Lund will moderate a debate between Professors Adam Winkler and Robert Leider on the Supreme Court’s latest Second Amendment decision. In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense. In justifying its holding, the Supreme Court engaged in a methodical historical inquiry, grappling with sometimes contradictory historical facts. In future cases, the Supreme Court also instructed lower courts to examine text, history, and tradition when deciding Second Amendment claims. The Court explicitly rejected the interest-balancing approach previously adopted by most courts of appeals. Bruen may prove to be a watershed decision in constitutional and criminal law.  

Did Bruen correctly decide that the right to bear arms applies outside the home? Will Bruen’s text, history, and tradition test be a viable means of analyzing modern gun control laws that have no historical analogue?  And now that the right to bear arms outside the home has been recognized as a constitutional right, what effects will Bruen have on state laws criminalizing the carrying of weapons and on police stop-and-frisk policies? 


  • Adam Winkler, Connell Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law
  • Robert Leider, Assistant Professor, George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Moderator: Nelson Lund, University Professor, George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School



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