The discussion of the scope and potential limitations of the Second Amendment has been at the forefront of the United States’ political debate in recent years. Prior to 2008, Second Amendment jurisprudence was unclear as to what could constitute a lawful restriction of an individual’s right to bear arms. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller, affirmed the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms, holding that a Washington, D.C., law that prohibited possessing handguns in the home was unconstitutional. The Court further indicated that nothing in the opinion “should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the right to bear arms was fundamental and applied to the states. While Heller and McDonald made clear that the Second Amendment was a limited fundamental right, neither decision defined the applicable constitutional standard for analyzing laws restricting the right to bear arms.

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