Courts & Litigation

The Lawfare Podcast: Amanda Tyler on Rahimi and Taking Guns Away From Loyalists

Matt Gluck, Amanda L. Tyler, Jen Patja
Wednesday, December 27, 2023, 8:00 AM
Will Revolutionary War-era laws that disarmed loyalists matters for the Supreme Court’s ruling in Rahimi?

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The Supreme Court last month heard oral arguments in United States v. Rahimi, in which the Court will decide the constitutionality of a federal law that criminalizes the possession of firearms by individuals on whom state courts have imposed domestic violence protective orders. This case came to the Court following its June 2022 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. In that case, the Court determined that whether a law violates the Second Amendment depends on whether there is a “representative historical analogue” for the contemporary law. 

Amanda Tyler, the Shannon Cecil Turner Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, argued in a recent article in Lawfare that the many laws disarming loyalists that existed at the time of the Founding serve as a set of “historical analogues” required by Bruen to demonstrate the constitutionality of the statute at issue in Rahimi—a claim which has been disputed by Rahimi’s lawyers. Lawfare Research Fellow Matt Gluck sat down with Tyler to discuss the Rahimi case, the nature of the Founding-era laws that stripped loyalists of their firearms, whether loyalists were members of the American political community, why that question matters for the Court’s ruling in Rahimi, and more. 

Matt Gluck is a research fellow at Lawfare. He holds a BA in government from Dartmouth College.
Amanda L. Tyler is the Shannon Cecil Turner Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She is the author of the book Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay (Oxford University Press 2017). She teaches and writes about the federal courts, the role of history in judicial interpretation, the separation of powers, and executive detention.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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