Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 18

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ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY
AND ETHICS MATTERS

[o]f course the right was not unlimited . . . we do not
read the Second Amendment to protect the right of
citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just
as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the
right of citizens to speak for any purpose.

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Id. at 595. The majority further clarifies that nothing in
Heller should upend longstanding prohibitions on the
possession of firearms by the mentally ill or by felons,
or prohibitions on carrying firearms into schools or
government buildings. It does not affect the prohibition
of dangerous and unusual weapons or regulations on
the commercial sale of firearms. Id. at 626-627. The only
weapons that are protected by the Second Amendment
are those that are "in common use at the time." Handguns
were found by the Court to be in common use in D.C.
at the time of the Heller decision, and their prohibition,
therefore, ran afoul of the Second Amendment.

James C. Schwartzman, Esq.

*	 Chairman,	Judicial	Conduct	Board	of	Pennsylvania
*	 Former	Chairman,	Disciplinary	Board	of	the	Supreme	
Court	of	Pennsylvania
*	 Former	Chairman,	Continuing	Legal	Education	Board	
of	the	Supreme	Court	of	Pennsylvania
*	 Former	Chairman,	Supreme	Court	of	Pennsylvania	
Interest	on	Lawyers	Trust	Account	Board
*	 Former	Federal	Prosecutor
*	 Selected	by	his	peers	as	one	of	the	top	100	Super	Lawyers	
in	PA	and	the	top	100	Super	Lawyers	in	Philadelphia
*	 Named	by	his	peers	as	Best Lawyers in America	2015	
Philadelphia	Ethics	and	Professional	Responsibility	Law	
"Lawyer	of	the	Year,"	and	in	Plaintiffs	and	Defendants	
Legal	Malpractice	Law

What Happens Next?
As Justice Breyer predicted, the Heller decision encouraged
legal challenges to gun control laws throughout the nation
without providing the courts with any standards by which to
adjudicate those challenges. Id. at 718-719. The lower courts
have developed their own tests for evaluating the constitutionality of gun control measures, with mixed results. No Second
Amendment case has been decided by SCOTUS since Heller.

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The NRA has done a good job of controlling the conversation
for decades, but is now facing perhaps its most formidable
opponent in years - a group of students who survived a
mass shooting at their high school in Parkland, Florida. Recent
polls indicate that a majority of Americans, weary of mass
shootings and gun violence, are frustrated and are demanding
some form of increased gun control. Change is in the air.

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What is certain is that the Second Amendment, as interpreted
by the Heller decision, does not prevent the government
from enacting gun control legislation. How far that legislation
goes, how the courts handle the inevitable challenges to
the legislation and whether any appeals make their way to
SCOTUS or prompt a revisiting of Heller, remain uncertain.

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Though passions run high on the topic of guns, the one
thing we can all agree on is that the gun violence plaguing
our country needs to end. We may not agree on the method,
but at least we start with a common goal. And we must
welcome all into the conversation, including the young voices
whose childhoods have been so affected by violence and the
threat of violence and who stand on the cusp of taking over
from us the reins of government and the judiciary. 

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Spring 2018

Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/BucksWritsSpring2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2017
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com