San Diego Law Review

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In an article for The New Yorker titled Active Shooter, David Sedaris quipped that, in preparing for the potential that a psychopath might break into his home, he would just as soon have a back door as a gun. Sedaris wrote the article after visiting a shooting range in North Carolina. Before, during, and after the writing of the article, Sedaris lived in the United Kingdom and noted that in the United Kingdom, it is nearly impossible to acquire a handgun let alone fire a handgun for sport.

Conversely, in the United States, a citizen has a right to a handgun. Proponents of the right defend it atavistically, leaning on tradition and history and asserting—if not explicitly, then implicitly—that the right to bear arms defines their identity as Americans. Those opposed to the right to own an arm, a handgun, point to the United States’ problems with gun violence.

Consequently, the debate over gun control and gun ownership has created a political chasm. This Comment aims to set aside politics and engage in legal analysis. At times it may seem that this Comment leans to the left of the aforementioned chasm, but it does so on the backing not of statistics and rhetoric but on legal fact and interpretation. Hopefully, this Comment can narrow, and not amplify, the chasm.

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