Overall, the trend of the past couple of decades seems to be toward expanding gun rights, just as the trend in the 1950s and 1960s was toward expanding free speech rights. America has moreÂ guns in private handsÂ than ever before, even asÂ crime rates fall, and, after a half-century or so of anti-gun hysteria, the nation seems to be reverting to its generally gun-friendly traditions.
I agree, and it’s good to be optimistic. But it’s also worth noting that we’re one death or retirement away from losing the Second Amendment entirely. Once the lower courts get the green light, they’ll reduce it to a meaningless right, and the Supreme Court will willingly go along with it. Remember, right now, in most federal circuits, the Second Amendment only means a right to have some kind of handgun, but not any type of handgun, in the home, and even that being subject to severe requirements, limitations, and qualifications. At this point, the Second Amendment may be “ordinary constitutional law” as Prof. Reynolds notes, but it’s far from a meaningful right for a sizable number of American citizens. We still have a lot of work to do, especially in 2014 and 2016.