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Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy, Third Edition

  • Nicholas J. Johnson
  • David B. Kopel
  • George A. Mocsary
  • E. Gregory Wallace
  • Donald E. Kilmer
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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The right to keep and bear arms evokes great controversy. To some, it is a bulwark against tyranny and criminal violence; to others, it is an anachronism and serious danger.Firearms Law and the Second Amendment is the leading casebook and scholarly treatise on arms law. It provides a comprehensive domestic and international treatment of the history of arms law. In-depth coverage of modern federal and state laws and litigation prepare students to be practice-ready for firearms cases. The book covers legal history from ninth-century England through the United States in 2021. It examines arms laws and culture in broad social context, ranging from racial issues to technological advances. Seven online chapters cover arms laws in global historical context, from Confucian times to the present. The online chapters also discuss arms law and policy relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, and other statuses and how firearms and ammunition work.

New to the Third Edition:

  • Important cases and new regulatory issues since the 2017 second edition, including public carry, limits on in-home possession, bans on types of arms, non-firearm arms (like knives or sprays), Red Flag laws, and restoration of firearms rights
  • Expanded social science and criminological data about firearms ownership and crimes
  • Deeper coverage of state arms control laws and constitutional provisions
  • Extended analysis of how Native American firearm policies and skills shaped interactions with European-Americans, provided the tools for three centuries of resistance, and became a foundation of American arms culture
  • The latest research on English legal history, which is essential to modern cases on the right to bear arms

Professors, students, and practicing lawyers will benefit from:

  • Practical advice and resource guides for lawyers, like early career prosecutors or defenders, who will soon practice firearms law
  • Five chapters on the diverse approaches of lower courts in applying the Supreme Court precedents in Heller and McDonald to contemporary laws
  • Historical sources that shaped, and continue to influence, the right to arms


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About the authors
Nicholas J. Johnson
Fordham University

Nicholas J. Johnson is currently a Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law.

David B. Kopel
Denver University

David B. Kopel earned his JD, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan, and his BA, with Highest Honors in History, from Brown University. He is Research Director of the Independence Institute, a public policy research organization in Golden, Colorado, and is an Associate Policy Analyst with the Cato Institute, in Washington, D.C. Kopel is one of several contributors to The Volokh Conspiracy, a group weblog of law professors. He has written hundreds of opinion articles for periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Denver Post. He is the author of 12 books, and 72 scholarly articles published in journals such as the Michigan Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, SAIS Review, and the Brown Journal on World Affairs. His topics include constitutional law, international law, criminal justice, technology, antitrust, media issues, and environmental policy. He has contributed entries to nine academic encyclopedias, and served on the Board of Editors for one. His research has been cited by eight state supreme courts, three federal circuit court of appeals, and over five hundred law review articles. Before joining the Independence Institute, he served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado, dealing with enforcement of hazardous waste, Superfund, and other environmental laws. In 1998-99, he served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University. From 2001 to 2009 he was a media columnist for the Rocky Mountain News. At Brown University, his thesis on Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., was awarded the National Geographic Society Prize.

Product Information
Third Edition
Publication date
Copyright Year
Connected eBook + Hardcover
Connected eBook (Digital Only)
Constitutional Law , Second Amendment
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