Developing Second Amendment Jurisprudence

Friedman v. City of Highland Park | 14-3091

April 2015

Most of us do not spend a significant (if any) amount of time litigating Second Amendment issues, but it is one of those hot button political issues that some like to use to infuriate your favorite liberal friend or NRA member.  In Friedman v. City of Highland Park, 14-3091, a split panel considered Highland Park’s complete ban on possession of assault weapons or large-capacity magazines (accepting more than 10 rounds), including AR-15’s and AK-47’s. The Court ultimately found the ordinance constitutional – asking two questions to resolve the issue: 1) whether the regulation bans weapons that were common at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification; and 2) whether law-abiding citizens retain adequate means of self-defense if the weapons in question were banned. Answering the first inquiry in the negative, and the second inquiry in the affirmative, the Court found the ordinance constitutional. Judge Manion filed a thoughtful dissent that identified a three-part analysis based on Heller (a leading Supreme Court case on Second Amendment issues); distinguished between the right to keep arms versus the right to bear arms; and then applied a strict scrutiny standard to the ordinance, ultimately concluding that the ordinance fails a strict scrutiny test.

Expect Friedman to be part of the appellate landscape discussed in the Supreme Court’s next Second Amendment decision. In the meantime, add Second Amendment rights to “politics, religion, and the Great Pumpkin” . . . things never discussed in polite company.  See Linus Van Pelt.