The Weekly Reload Podcast

Bruen is Outpacing the Effects of Heller (Feat. Pepperdine University's Jake Charles)

April 3rd, 2023

This week, we're discussing the tremendous effect the Supreme Court's Bruen decision has had on the lower courts in a few short months.

Jake Charles, an associate professor at Pepperdine University, joins the show to give us an overview of his latest paper. In it, he comprehensively breaks down how many Second Amendment claims have been successful thus far and which ones have performed best. With 31 successful claims, the post-Bruen era has seen far more decisions against gun laws than the immediate aftermath of 2008's Heller decision.

Charles said he wasn't surprised by how much of an effect Bruen has had, given the nature of the test it lays down. But he was surprised by the success rates of different challenges, though. While many carry restrictions have been struck down on a consistent basis, cases against unlawful uses of firearms or prohibited person prohibitions have seen little success.

We also discuss some of the critiques Charles has of the Bruen standard generally. He explains his view that the Court forstalling the use of anything but historical laws is too restrictive. And he argues the historical test is so far underbaked, which he claims has led to confusion among lower courts.

Charles responds to common pro-gun arguments that critics of Bruen are mostly upset with the standard because there simply weren't many gun regulations at the founding, which limits what can be considered Constitutional today. And he explains why he believes the Court's approach to analysis by analogue is not flexible enough to deal with modern problems the founders didn't face.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Charles and I talk about a federal judge upholding Delaware's "assault weapons" ban despite finding the guns are in "common use" for self-defense.