Analysis: How Much Can Gun Ownership be Restricted?

Nicholas Johnson on Voice of Russia, July 27, 2012

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Court decisions might hinder future attempts to restrict gun ownership

The debate over the right to gun ownership has once again flared up following the shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, last week in which 12 people were killed. Some pro-gun ownership groups and politicians have argued for more lax laws would have let movie watchers protect themselves. Those favoring more strict gun controls have demanded regulations that would have kept assailant James Holmes from obtaining his arsenal, such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who called on President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to offer plans on how to get guns off the streets.

What could either candidate or Congress even do? The US Supreme Court has said that the Second Amendment gives Americans a legal right to bear arms, so what kind of restrictions are allowable under the current Constitutional framework?

To answer those questions, we hear from Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Mark Tushnet, author of Out of Range: Why the Constitution Can’t End the Battle Over Guns; and Nick Johnson, also a Constitutional law professor at Fordham University who has written many articles on the Second Amendment.