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70 Duke L.J. 1429 (2020-2021)
Time to Reload: The Harms of the Federal Felon-in-Possession Ban in a Post-Heller World

handle is hein.journals/duklr70 and id is 1426 raw text is: 


                  POST-HELLER WORLD

                          ZACH   SHERWOODT

       Federal law permanently prohibits anyone who has been convicted
    of a felony from possessing a firearm. Keeping lethal weapons out of
    the hands of those who pose a risk to public safety is no doubt a worthy
    policy goal. But the federal felon-in-possession ban is blunt, punitive,
    and supremely damaging  to the ex-felons who fall within its ambit. The
    statute's sweeping scope ensures that any ex-felon who possesses any
    firearm for any length of time for any reason can be swiftly and harshly
    punished. And it indiscriminately targets conduct that is often neither
    harmful nor criminal.

       The  felon-in-possession ban gained  constitutional significance
    following the Supreme   Court's landmark  decision in District of
    Columbia  v. Heller. The Heller Court recognized for the first time an
    individual Second Amendment right   to possess a firearm for self-
    defense in the home. Yet by imposing substantial criminal liability on
    any form of firearm possession by an ex-felon, the felon-in-possession
    ban categorically strips a sizable portion of Americans of this very
    same right.

       This Note argues that it is high time to rethink the federal felon-in-
    possession ban's role in a post-Heller world. It argues that the statute's
    expansive reach is poorly tailored to addressing gun violence and
    highlights the weak  doctrinal foundation on  which the felon-in-
    possession ban is built. But this Note goes further than most existing
    scholarship by also examining the tangible, on-the-ground harms that

Copyright © 2021 Zach Sherwood.
    t  Duke University School of Law, J.D. expected 2021; Harvard University, A.B. 2013. To
Professors Sean Andrussier, Neil Siegel, Ben Grunwald, and Sarah Baker, thank you for your
wisdom and mentorship. To my classmates in Professor Rebecca Rich's Scholarly Writing
Workshop, thank you for your insightful feedback. To the Duke Law Journal editors, thank you
for your much-needed comments, edits, and improvements. And to my parents and husband,
words cannot capture how grateful I am for your abiding love and support.

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