New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen is a major change to Second Amendment jurisprudence and could eventually lead to large-scale changes in the U.S. firearm regulatory landscape. Nevertheless, key ambiguities and contradictions in the decision and its concurring opinions lead the authors to conclude that sharp departures from the regulatory regimes currently pursued by states are unlikely until new cases are heard by the Supreme Court that resolve those ambiguities. Therefore, states wishing to impose restrictive firearm regulations will continue to be able to do so, though sometimes in modified ways, and those wishing to make their laws more permissive will similarly find arguments under Bruen to support that course. Although the Bruen decision limits the role of science and contemporary evidence in influencing how firearm regulations are evaluated, there are some limited empirical questions for which research could still help inform future court decisions on the regulation of firearms.
This research was sponsored by Arnold Ventures and conducted in the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.
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