State A is concerned about the number of stolen handguns that have been involved in recent crimes. The serial numbers have been removed from a large majority of these weapons. To try to curb the sale and possession of these guns, State A amends its criminal statutes to include the following provision:
It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly transport, ship, or receive, any firearm which has had the importer's or manufacturer's serial number removed, obliterated, or altered, or to possess or receive any firearm which has had the importer's or manufacturer's serial number removed, obliterated, or altered.
The state believes that the requirement that weapons contain serial numbers will help ensure that the weapons are not being sold to dangerous and irresponsible persons who might use these weapons in an unlawful manner. The serial numbers act as an effective tracking system by which to regulate the sale of these dangerous weapons. The law will not prohibit individuals from otherwise lawfully purchasing and using a weapon.
J is a gun collector in State A. He also sells a few specialty guns out of his home. Several of the guns J collects and sells are missing serial numbers. Soon after State A’s new law is passed, J is arrested and charged with the unlawful possession of handguns lacking serial numbers. At trial, J argues that the law infringes on his right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
- How should the court rule? Explain, analyzing only J’s Second Amendment defense.
How should the court rule? Explain, analyzing only J’s Second Amendment defense.