The 2nd Amendment at the Supreme Court: "700 Years of History" and the Modern Effects of Guns in Public

October 1, 2021


On April 23, 2021, Rob Bonta was sworn in as the 34th Attorney General of the State of California, the first person of Filipino descent and the second Asian-American to occupy the position.

Attorney General Bonta's passion for justice and fairness was instilled in him by his parents, who served on the frontlines of some of America's most important social justice movements. Instilling in him the lessons they learned from the United Farm Workers and the civil rights movement, Attorney General Bonta's parents lit a fire inside him to fight against injustice — to stand up for those who are taken advantage of or harmed. It's why he decided to become a lawyer — to help right historic wrongs and fight for people who have been harmed. He worked his way through college and graduated with honors from Yale University and attended Yale Law School.

In the State Assembly, Attorney General Bonta enacted nation-leading reforms to inject more justice and fairness into government and institutions. As the People's Attorney, he sees seeking accountability from those who abuse their power and harm others as one of the most important functions of the job. In elected office, he has taken on powerful interests and advanced systemic change — pursuing corporate accountability, standing up for workers, punishing big polluters, and fighting racial injustice. He has been a national leader in the fight to transform the criminal justice system, banning private prisons and detention facilities in California, as well as pushing to eliminate cash bail in the state. He has led statewide fights for racial, economic, and environmental justice and worked to further the rights of immigrant families, renters, and working Californians.

Prior to serving in the Assembly, Attorney General Bonta worked as a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, where he represented the City and County and its employees, and fought to protect Californians from exploitation and racial profiling.

Born in Quezon City, Philippines, Attorney General Bonta immigrated to California with his family as an infant. He is the son of a proud native Filipino mother and a father who taught him the value of public service to his community. He is married to Mia Bonta, and they are the proud parents of three children Reina, Iliana, and Andres, as well as their dog Legolas.


Joseph Blocher is the Lanty L. Smith ’67 Professor of Law at Duke Law School. Professor Blocher’s principal academic interests include federal and state constitutional law, the First and Second Amendments, legal history, and property. His current scholarship addresses issues of gun rights and regulation, free speech, the law of the territories, and the relationship between law and violence. He has published articles on those and other topics in the Harvard Law ReviewYale Law JournalStanford Law ReviewDuke Law JournalYale Journal of International Law, and other leading journals. He is co-author of Free Speech Beyond Words (NYU Press, 2017) and The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation, and the Future of Heller (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He serves as Co-Director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law, and has spoken before Congress and written for the New York TimesWashington PostSlateVox, and other public outlets.

He returned to his hometown of Durham to join the Duke Law faculty in 2009, and received the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012. Before coming to Duke, he clerked for Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He also practiced law at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he assisted the merits briefing for the District of Columbia in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Professor Blocher received his B.A., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Rice University, and studied law and economic development as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana and as a Gates Scholar at Cambridge University, where he received an M.Phil in Land Economy. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as comments editor of the Yale Law Journal, symposium editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review, notes editor of the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, participated in or directed several clinics, and was co-chair of the Legal Services Organization.


Kami Chavis is a Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program at Wake Forest University School of Law. In 2015, Professor Chavis was appointed as a Senior Academic Fellow at the Joint Center for Political And Economic Studies. She has substantial practice experience and writes and teaches in areas related to criminal law, criminal procedure and criminal justice reform. After receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School, she worked as an associate at private law firms in Washington, D.C., where she participated in various aspects of civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal investigations. In 2003, she became an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, involving her in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and in arguing and briefing appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Professor Chavis frequently makes presentations on law-enforcement issues and is a leader in the field of police accountability. Her articles have appeared in the American Criminal Law Review, the Ohio State Journal of Criminal LawThe Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the University of Alabama Law Review, and the Catholic University Law Review, and other legal journals. Her research focuses on using Cooperative Federalism principles and stakeholder participation to implement sustainable reforms in the criminal justice system. She writes in the areas of police and prosecutorial accountability, federal hate crimes legislation and enforcement, and racial profiling. She was elected to the American Law Institute in 2012.

Professor Chavis is a frequent contributor to national and international media outlets and has appeared on CNN, CTV, and NPR. She has written for the New York Times and the Huffington Post, and has been quoted in the Wall Street JournalBBC NewsU.S. News and World ReportInternational Business TimesDeutsche Welle, and other outlets regarding police accountability and the structural reform of law enforcement agencies.


Saul Cornell is the Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History at Fordham University, and the former Director of the Second Amendment Research Centre at the John Glenn Institute. One of the nation’s leading authorities on early American constitutional thought, Professor Cornell is the author of two prize-winning works in American legal history: The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America (1999), and A Well-Regulated Militia: the Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America (2006). His work has been widely cited by legal scholars and historians, and has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and several state supreme courts. Professor Cornell received his MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Amherst College.


John J. Donohue III has been one of the leading empirical researchers in the legal academy over the past 30 years. Professor Donohue is an economist as well as a lawyer and is well known for using empirical analysis to determine the impact of law and public policy in a wide range of areas, including civil rights and antidiscrimination law, employment discrimination, criminal justice and the death penalty, and factors influencing crime, such as guns, incarceration, policing, and legalized abortion.

Before rejoining the Stanford Law School faculty in 2010 (where he had previously taught from 1995–2004), Professor Donohue was the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He recently co-authored Employment Discrimination: Law and Theory with George Rutherglen. Earlier in his career, he was a law professor at Northwestern University and a research fellow with the American Bar Foundation. Additionally, he clerked with Chief Judge T. Emmet Clarie of the U.S. District Court of Hartford, Connecticut. Professor Donohue is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and was formerly editor of the American Law and Economics Review and president of the American Law and Economics Association.


Mark Anthony Frassetto is the Deputy Director of Second Amendment History and Scholarship at Everytown Law, where he focuses on developing the historical and scholarly record supporting the constitutionality of gun regulation. Mark’s work makes up much of the Originalist defense of gun laws under the Second Amendment.

Mark’s work has been published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, Texas A&M Law ReviewWilliam and Mary Bill of Rights JournalHastings Constitutional Law QuarterlySouthern Illinois Law Review and Campbell Law Review. Mark’s work has been frequently cited in briefs and often is relied on by Courts across the country. Mark is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Marquette University, where he double majored in history and criminology.


Pratheepan Gulasekaram is a Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, where he teaches Constitutional Law and Immigration Law. Professor Gulasekaram’s research focuses on the constitutional rights of noncitizens and federalism concerns in immigration law. He is co-author of the leading immigration law casebook used in law schools: Immigration & Citizenship: Process and Policy (West Academic 9th Ed. 2021). His book, The New Immigration Federalism, provides an in-depth empirical and theoretical analysis of the resurgence of state and local immigration lawmaking. He has also extensively explored the relationship between the Second Amendment and immigrants, as a way of understanding constitutional protections for noncitizens. In addition to his scholarly publications, Professor Gulasekaram frequently comments on constitutional and immigration developments for media outlets, and contributes opinion pieces for the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, and blogs for various national outlets. He is a graduate of Brown University and Stanford Law School.

Professor Gulasekaram joined the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty in 2007. He has also taught as Visiting Professor at Stanford Law School, Berkeley Law School, University of California Berkeley, and as Acting Assistant Professor of Lawyering at New York University School of Law. Prior to academia, he was a litigation associate with O’Melveny & Meyers LLP and Susman Godfrey LLP, both in Los Angeles. Professor Gulasekaram clerked for the Honorable Jacques L. Wiener Jr. on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.


Sally Hadden is an Associate Professor of History and the director of graduate studies in the Department of History at Western Michigan University. Professor Hadden writes about and researches law and history in early America. She has published one monograph as a solo author: Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas (Harvard University Press, 2001). She has co-edited or co-authored three additional books: Signposts: New Directions in Southern Legal History, with Patricia Minter (University of Georgia Press, 2013); A Companion to American Legal History, with Al Brophy (Wiley Blackwell, 2013); and Traveling the Beaten Path: Charles Tait’s Charges to Federal Grand Juries, 1822-1825, with David Durham and Paul Pruitt (University of Alabama School of Law/University of Alabama Press, 2013).

Professor Hadden is currently working on two projects: a monograph on eighteenth-century lawyers in colonial American cities, and a study of the earliest U.S. Supreme Court (with Maeva Marcus, under contract with Cambridge University Press). She received her MA, JD, and PhD from Harvard University, and is also a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.


Cynthia Lee is the Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School, where she teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Adjudicatory Criminal Procedure, and Professional Responsibility. Professor Lee received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University and a JD from UC Berkeley Law School. Upon graduating from law school, she clerked for Judge Harold M. Fong, then Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. She then served as an associate with Cooper, White & Cooper in San Francisco, California, where she was a member of the firm's criminal defense practice group. Professor Lee started teaching at the University of San Diego School of Law in 1993, where she received the Thorsness Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She joined the GW Law faculty in August 2001.

Professor Lee has published in the California Law Review, the University of Illinois Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, and the Minnesota Law Review, among other journals. She is the author or editor of four books, including Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (West 2019) (with Angela Harris); Criminal Procedure: Cases and Materials (West 2018) (with L. Song Richardson & Tamara Lawson); Searches and Seizures: The Fourth Amendment, Its Constitutional History and the Contemporary Debate (Prometheus Books 2011); and Murder and the Reasonable Man: Passion and Fear in the Criminal Courtroom (NYU Press 2003). Professor Lee served as chair of the AALS Criminal Justice Section in 2008. Key provisions from a model statute on police use of deadly force she proposed in an article published in 2018 in the Illinois Law Review were incorporated into police reform legislation enacted by Connecticut, Virginia, and the District of Columbia in 2020.


Darrell A. H. Miller is the Melvin G. Shimm Professor of Law at Duke Law School, where he writes and teaches in the areas of civil rights, constitutional law, civil procedure, state and local government law, and legal history. Professor Miller’s scholarship on the Second and Thirteenth Amendments has been published in leading law reviews such as the Yale Law Journal, the University of Chicago Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review, and has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, the United States District Courts, and in congressional testimony and legal briefs. With Joseph Blocher, he’s the author of The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation, and the Future of Heller (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Professor Miller began his academic career at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he twice received the Goldman Award for Excellence in Teaching. Prior to joining the academy, Miller practiced complex and appellate litigation in Columbus, Ohio. He is a former clerk to Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Professor Miller graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. In addition to his law degree, Professor Miller holds degrees from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar, and from Anderson University.


Jesenia Pizarro is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. Professor Pizarro’s research focus is on the importance of understanding the proximal event and situational factors that result in violence (i.e., the who, where, when, and why), and the effect the situational context of violent events has on the social reaction of practitioners and other social actors. While her research focus centers on violence, she also studies the politics of punishment and the criminology of micro places. Her corrections work has focused on the administration and use of administrative segregation units throughout the country's state correctional systems. Her work on crime and micro places has focused on the distribution of disorders that can impede the development of healthy neighborhoods.

Professor Pizarro is currently a member of the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens Consortium (FACTS), and the Homicide Research Working Group (HRWG). She is also a board member of Arizonians for Gun Safety and that National Center for School Safety. Throughout her career, she has worked with various police departments and agencies throughout the country in joint efforts to curb violence (i.e., Detroit, MI; Flint, MI; and Newark, NJ), and has managed funded grants that focus on urban violence and intimate partner homicide prevention, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, National Institute of Health, the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, and the Center for Disease Control in various capacities and roles.


Brennan Gardner Rivas holds a PhD in History from Texas Christian University, and specializes in nineteenth-century political history. Dr. Rivas’ current book project explores the regulation of firearms and weapons in Texas, arguing that gun control has deep roots in the history of the United States and the American southwest. She has extensive experience with legal and legislative research, including the interpretation of country criminal records. Dr. Rivas’ prior publications include “An Unequal Right to Bear Arms: State Weapons Law and White Supremacy in Texas, 1836-1900,” in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.


Eric Ruben is an Assistant Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. Professor Ruben’s scholarly interests span criminal law, constitutional law, legal ethics, legal empirics, and legal history. Currently, he is researching issues involving self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms. Professor Ruben also teaches criminal law, professional responsibility, and a seminar on the Second Amendment.

Professor Ruben’s scholarly work has been published or is forthcoming in the California Law ReviewDuke Law JournalGeorgetown Law JournalIowa Law Review, and Yale Law Journal Forum. He is a frequent contributor to popular outlets such as The AtlanticNew York TimesVoxJurist, and various legal blogs.

Prior to joining SMU, Professor Ruben was a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. Before that, he worked as a criminal defense attorney at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, P.C. and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Ruben received his J.D. from NYU School of Law, where he was an Articles Editor for the NYU Law Review, and his B.A. from Dartmouth College, where he graduated magna cum laude.


Ann Tweedy is an Associate Professor at University of South Dakota School of Law. Professor Tweedy previously served as an in-house attorney for Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and for Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and in an Of Counsel role at Kanji & Katzen, PLLC. Her work in practice focused primarily on natural resources law and environmental law in the context of protection of Tribal treaty resources. She played an integral role in treaty rights cases that were heard by the Ninth Circuit, the District of Columbia Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court, including the sub-proceeding of United States v. Washington known as the Culverts Case.

Professor Tweedy has taught at Michigan State University College of Law, California Western School of Law, and Hamline University School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline). Most recently, she served as an adjunct professor in University of Tulsa College of Law's online Masters of Jurisprudence Program in Indian Law. She is a noted scholar on tribal jurisdiction and tribal civil rights law, as well as on bisexuality and the law. Her scholarship has been cited in Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law and other treatises and excerpted in textbooks, including Justin B. Richland and Sarah Deer's Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies and William B. Rubenstein et al.'s Cases and Materials on Sexual Orientation and the Law. She has been invited to present at many conferences in the United States and abroad and, in 2016, presented the Annual Rubash Distinguished Lecture in Law and Social Work at University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

After graduating from University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif, Professor Tweedy clerked for the Honorable Ronald M. Gould of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for the Honorable Rex Armstrong of the Oregon Court of Appeals. She currently serves as Chair of the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Section and as the Immediate Past Chair of the Washington State Bar Association's Indian Law Section, as well as serving as a volunteer Hearing Officer for the Disciplinary Board of the Washington State Bar Association. Professor Tweedy is also an award-winning poet.