“Joseph Blocher and Reva Siegel have focused attention on an underappreciated dimension of the debate about the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. They reject a narrow concept of “public safety” that evaluates regulations “without full consideration of what is encompassed in that concept–freedom from intimidation, for example, not just physical pain.” At this level of generality, I agree. But I do not agree that an appropriately broad conception should widen the discretion of legislatures to impose restrictions on firearms.
The questions that Blocher and Siegel raise are especially important during this time of politically inspired riots and flaccid government responses to mob violence. The most practically important Second Amendment issue that is ripe for Supreme Court resolution concerns the scope of the constitutional right to bear arms in public. The Constitution’s text and history offer little direct guidance, and the Justices will inevitably have to decide how to resolve the conflict of interests that occur when governments seek to promote public safety by depriving individuals of the means to protect themselves.
In performing this obligation, the Court should give no weight to fears of an armed citizenry, which frequently inspire useless or counterproductive infringement on individual liberty.”