- Nov 21, 2018
E. Volokh said:EUGENE VOLOKH | 11.11.2020 1:59 PM
I've often heard gun rights supporters object to restrictions on gun ownership by various people (including felons, people subject to domestic restraining orders, and the like) by analogy to speech restrictions: We wouldn't ban a person from public speaking just because he had once been convicted of a crime (assume he's out of prison now, and no longer on probation); why should we do the same as to guns? Conversely, the argument goes, if courts accept the gun restrictions, those restrictions would end up being used as analogy to restrict other rights, too.
I don't think this is an open-and-shut argument; different constitutional rights involve different kinds of risks, and are therefore often treated differently. It may well be that the dangers posed by gun ownership by people with a criminal record (especially a record of violent crime) may justify a ban, but the different dangers posed by speech wouldn't; and there is indeed more of a tradition—though only dating back about a century or less—of restrictions on gun ownership by felons.
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