The recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision striking down Washington, D.C.,’s gun-control law on Second Amendment grounds is linked by the New York Times to a the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns. Harvard’s Laurence Tribe, for example, has come to believe that the Second Amendment protected an individual right. He has supposed gun control as a policy issue.
Several other liberal constitutional scholars, notably Akhil Reed Amar at Yale and Sanford Levinson at the University of Texas, are in broad agreement favoring an individual rights interpretation. Their work has in a remarkably short time upended the conventional understanding of the Second Amendment, and it set the stage for the D.C. decision, which may culminate in a major Supreme Court ruling. “The standard liberal position,” Levinson said, “is that the Second Amendment is basically just read out of the Constitution.” Linda Singer, the District of Columbia's attorney general, said, “It's truly a life-or-death question for us  We all remember very well when D.C. had the highest murder rate in the country, and we won't go back there.” Should the case reach the Supreme Court, Tribe said, “there's a really quite decent chance that it will be affirmed.”