Carrying Guns in Public: Legal and Public Health Implications
Version of Record online: 16 APR 2013
© 2013 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics
Special Issue: SYMPOSIUM: 2012 Public Health Law Conference: Practical Approaches to Critical Challenges
Volume 41, Issue Supplement s1, pages 84–87, Spring 2013
How to Cite
Vernick, J. S. (2013), Carrying Guns in Public: Legal and Public Health Implications. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 41: 84–87. doi: 10.1111/jlme.12047
- Issue online: 16 APR 2013
- Version of Record online: 16 APR 2013
In District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own handguns in the home for protection, invalidating a Washington, D.C. law banning most handgun possession. The Heller decision, however, provided lower courts with little guidance regarding how to judge the constitutionality of gun laws other than handgun bans. Nevertheless, lower courts have upheld the vast majority of federal, state, and local gun laws challenged since Heller. One area in which some lower courts have disagreed has been the constitutionality of laws regulating the ability to carry firearms in public. This issue may be the next to be addressed by the Supreme Court under its evolving Second Amendment jurisprudence. Courts should carefully consider the negative public health and safety implications of gun carrying in public as they weigh the constitutionality of these laws.