66 Stan. L. Rev. Online 1 (2013-2014)

handle is hein.journals/slro66 and id is 1 raw text is: 

                      66 STAN. L. REV. ONLINE 1
                             April 18, 2013








                OF ARMS AND ALIENS


                          Anjali  Motgi*

    In December, the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, thrust the Second
Amendment   into the forefront of national media attention once again. The
massacre of schoolchildren by assault rifle reignited a debate among pun-
dits about the meaning of the right to bear arms, but it may surprise many
Americans  to learn that the Second Amendment  continues to fuel debate
over another topic of national importance: the rights of illegal immigrants.



    On the day of the Newtown  shooting, the Fourth Circuit joined three
other circuit courts in upholding the constitutionality of a federal statute
which bars those residing unlawfully in the United States from purchasing
or possessing firearms.' The case revolved around the question of whether
illegal immigrants are part of the people, the elastic phrase used in the
Second Amendment   to indicate who has the right to bear arms.
    Nicolas Carpio-Leon, a Mexican citizen who had been living in South
Carolina for thirteen years with his wife and three American-born children,
pleaded guilty to unlawful firearm possession after Immigration and Cus-
toms Enforcement  officers found a rifle, a pistol, and ammunition during a
consensual search of his home. Carpio-Leon had no prior criminal record
and had regularly filed federal income tax returns. He contended that the
Second Amendment   could not have been intended to exclude illegal aliens
from its scope because, when the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, atti-
tudes toward immigration were the reverse of today's attitudes [and] immi-
grants . . . were deemed absolutely necessary to the development and sur-
vival of the new nation.2 Judge Niemeyer wrote that the court's analysis
must begin not with the 1791 meaning of the Second Amendment  but with
the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which


    *J.D. Candidate 2014, Yale Law School.
    1. United States v. Carpio-Leon, 701 F.3d 974 (4th Cir. 2012).
    2. Id. at 976.


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