The Supreme Court’s recent decision in District of Columbia v. Heller held that a municipal ban on handguns is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, but left open the possibility of reasonable regulations on firearms. Given the outrageous levels of firearms-related violence in many urban areas—violence that disproportionately affects communities of color—the question of what constitutes a reasonable regulation should be an issue of major concern to civil rights activists and lawyers. This article evaluates Heller in light of these issues, and argues in favor of a general presumption that local legislatures are best situated to balance the costs and benefits of firearms regulations. Moving forward, municipalities should be afforded broad discretion in enacting such regulations, consistent with the Court’s decision in Heller.
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