View this email in your browser
Fall 2019 Newsletter

Looking Back

The Duke Center for Firearms Law launched in spring 2019 with a mission of advancing the development of firearms law as a scholarly field. Through an ambitious program of workshops, conferences, scholarship, and public engagement, the Center has begun to fulfill this mission.

Center programming began with two panel discussions among scholars who have been at the forefront of Second Amendment scholarship and litigation for decades. On February 28, David Kopel, research director at the Independence Institute, and George Mocsary, a law professor then at Southern Illinois University School of Law, joined Duke Law Professor Charles Dunlap and Faculty Co-Director Darrell Miller for a discussion of The Second Amendment and the Prevention of Tyranny.
The next week, on March 4, University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson joined Duke Law Professor Walter Dellinger for a conversation about the Supreme Court, the Second Amendment, and the future of gun regulations, moderated by Faculty Co-Director Joseph Blocher. For both events, an overflow room was needed to accommodate the overwhelming student and community interest.
Public Education & Engagement

The Center continued its strategic mission during the spring and summer. In February, Professors Blocher & Miller served as the keynote speakers at the Annual Law & Society Symposium hosted by the Charleston Law Review.  In late March, Charles contributed commentary to Jurist, an online legal news and research service, on “The ‘Charleston Loophole’ and the Second Amendment.” In April, Charles spoke on a panel at Wake Forest University about gun violence prevention. The Center also planned roundtables, workshops, symposia, and other ways to draw together scholars working in areas relevant to firearms law and advance the Center mission.
At the end of May, the Center launched a new blog, Second Thoughts. The blog has featured guest contributions from distinguished scholars such as Carl Bogus, Saul Cornell, Mary Anne Franks, and Kate Shaw, as well as original content from the Center’s own leadership and research assistants. It has hosted multiple “mini-symposia” devoted to topics like teaching firearms law and edited collections of scholarship. And several posts have been highlighted on SCOTUSblog, an award-winning blog devoted to covering the United States Supreme Court.
In July, Professor Blocher participated in a debate with Erin Murphy, a Supreme Court litigator, and one of the attorneys representing the challengers in the most recent Second Amendment challenge, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York. The debate drew an audience of more than 700 and was later broadcast in full on C-SPAN.
As part of its public education mission, Center leadership also has continuously served as a resource to news journalists and reporters on questions related to firearms law. In May, Charles discussed the constitutionality of democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker’s gun violence prevention plan with Newsweek. In June, the local NPR affiliate interviewed Professors Blocher and Miller about how noise ordinances and other nuisance laws interact with gun rights. In August, Professor Blocher discussed public carry with the Houston Chronicle. Center leadership has also consulted with multiple reporters on background to help them understand the nuances of federal and state firearms regulation and the contours of the Second Amendment.
Oxford Historians Roundtable
In July, the Center convened a group of British and Irish historians for a roundtable discussion at Oxford University. Professor Miller facilitated a conversation about the ways in which American courts were using, and often misusing, British and Irish history in discussing the nature and scope of the pre-existing right to bear arms codified in the Second Amendment.
The event drew experts on the aspects of British and Irish history most often employed in Second Amendment scholarship and litigation, such as the concept of the King’s Peace, the Glorious Revolution, and English game laws. Many scholars expressed surprised at the ways U.S. courts and commentators had construed historical events and practices.  There was general agreement that the roundtable was only the first of many necessary scholarly conversations on the subject.
Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop

In August, the Center hosted its first Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop. Scholars from diverse fields such as public health, sociology, history, religion, and law convened at Duke Law School to present early stage scholarship related to firearms law. The immediate goal was to give scholars—especially those new to the area—a chance to engage with one another’s work. More broadly, and in keeping with the Center’s overall mission, the aim was to help build a scholarly community and to broaden and deepen firearms law as a scholarly discipline.
Several groups of scholars attended the workshop: those recently entering the field of firearms law (broadly defined), those who have spent years (and in one case decades) writing on firearms law, and those with substantive expertise in other areas of law who are interested in the development of this new field of scholarship.

The papers represented a wide range of disciplines and methodologies, including: the empirical links between state permitting laws and suicide risk; the sometimes-surprising role of police organizations in gun politics; just war theory and an ethic of Christian handgun ownership; the use of tort law to hold businesses liable for the misuse of guns on their property; and the historical role of the U.S. government in developing the national firearms industry.  Those papers (and others) were divided across four panels throughout the day, and the discussion was so engaging that it spilled over each and every time.
*      *      *
Looking Ahead
The Center has planned a number of events to draw together scholars and engage the community in the coming months.
Upcoming Programming

On September 19, the Center will host an evening panel discussion on Extreme Risk Protection Orders  (also called “Red Flag” laws) with experts—and Center faculty affiliates—Professors Jeffrey Swanson and Kristin Goss. North Carolina State Representative Marcia Morey, a former judge and current sponsor of pending extreme risk legislation, will also join the discussion.
The Center will host its fall symposium on September 27, titled Gun Rights and Regulation Outside the Home. This symposium brings together a dozen scholars to discuss the history, law, and policy surrounding the scope of Second Amendment protection outside the home. The papers presented at the symposium will be published in Duke Law School’s widely-circulated journal, Law & Contemporary Problems.  
In October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Center will hold a panel discussion on domestic violence and firearms, including international human rights obligations concerning these issues. Cincinnati Law School Dean Verna Williams will join Sherry Honeycutt Everett of the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and members of Duke Law’s International Human Rights Clinic to discuss the problems that firearms present in domestic violence situations. Professor Miller will moderate the discussion.
Later that month, Charles will moderate a panel discussion on how firearms are regulated at the federal level, with Pamela Hicks L’92, a high-ranking Department of Justice official who previously served as Deputy Associate Chief Counsel for the ATF. She will join Duke Law Professor Lisa Kern Griffin, a former federal prosecutor, to discuss the ways federal firearm laws and regulations are drafted in agencies and implemented in the field.
Then, on November 13, Professor Blocher will moderate a discussion on how 3-D printing complicates firearms regulations, with members of the Duke University faculty studying the issue from engineering, technological, and constitutional perspectives. Duke Law Professors Stuart Benjamin and Jeff Ward will lead the discussion, along with Pratt School of Engineering Professor Ken Gall.
Public Engagement & Planning
As well as Center-hosted programming, leadership will continue to engage in invited discussions. Professor Miller, for example, will be debating how and whether the Second Amendment extends outside the home at the University of Utah on September 5.
Charles will debate the scope of the Second Amendment at Cornell University in October. Professor Blocher will present firearms-related papers at NYU and Yale that same month.
The Center will also begin planning several 2020 conferences and panel discussions. The Center envisions holding another large symposium next year, as well as hosting a roundtable discussion with historians attending the Organization of American Historians annual conference in Washington, D.C. in April.
Research Affiliate Program

This fall will also see the Center’s application window open for its new Research Affiliate program. The program seeks to support junior and aspiring scholars, including current graduate students, post-docs, visiting or adjunct faculty, and practitioners as they develop research and scholarship in the field of firearms law. These nonresident affiliations are open to those working in law, as well those working in history, political science, public policy, and related fields and focusing on firearms law.
Research affiliates will enjoy an initial 9-12 month affiliation with the Center and receive stipends to support research-related projects or events, such as expenses related to traveling for conferences or colloquium to present research, hiring research assistants to help with scholarship tasks, and paying costs and fees for data or information retrieval. The Center expects to have one to two Research Affiliates to start and expects the term for Research Affiliates to begin on January 1, 2020 and conclude at the end of the calendar year.
Repository of Historical Gun Laws
& Research Assistants

Throughout the coming year, the Center plans to continue updating, refining, and publicizing the Repository of Historical Gun Laws. The Repository is the largest single-site, searchable database of historical gun laws publicly available. The Repository includes laws that range from the medieval age to 1776 in England and from the colonial era to the early twentieth century in the United States. This Repository is a dynamic resource that is continually updated as research uncovers more historical regulations. It is intended as a resource for scholars, practitioners, and others interested in historical laws concerning firearms and other similar weapons.
The Center’s excellent summer research assistants, Catie Carberry and Genesa Cefali, were able to find more than 50 new laws to add to the Repository. They each also authored a series of incisive and historically rich blog posts describing trends and observations from the Repository. Genesa and Catie will continue working for the Center as time allows this fall, and the Center anticipates hiring several more research assistants to help continue this work. 
*    *     *
In its first six months, the Center engaged dozens of scholars, journalists, and policymakers in discussions about firearms law. Center leadership were able not only to contribute to the scholarly and public discourse, but to help shape and spur it. The Center has the same ambitious goals for the next year.

Thank you for your engagement with the Center. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any firearms-related questions or ideas.
Joseph Blocher, Faculty Co-Director
Darrell Miller, Faculty Co-Director
Jake Charles, Executive Director
Copyright © 2019 Duke Center for Firearms Law, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp