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Document Type

Essay

Abstract

On November 3, 2021, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen, a Second Amendment case challenging New York’s concealed carry licensing system. The justices’ questions focused not only on who may obtain a license to carry a firearm in public, but also where those with a license may or may not bring their weapons. These questions acknowledged that the Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller provided a carveout for firearms restrictions in “sensitive places,” providing “schools and government buildings” as just two examples. In the fourteen years since Heller, state and federal courts have upheld firearms restrictions in a number of locations under the sensitive places doctrine. However, in anticipation of a wave of sensitive places litigation following the Bruen decision, several conservative scholars now seek to limit the doctrine to only those locations protected by strict government security measures, such as metal detectors and security guards. This article demonstrates that such an approach is inconsistent with our nation’s history of regulating public carry and both historical and present-day case law, including Heller.

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