Formerly numbered Law 597
This seminar uses the gun control debate as a way to confront two sorts of questions: (1) How to evaluate and argue about statistical social science evidence. This is often relevant in tort cases, discrimination cases, trademark cases, and many forms of lobbying, both before the public and before legislative or administrative bodies. (2) How to make constitutional arguments in an area where there's fairly little precedent. This is particularly important when litigating state constitutional provisions, whether related to business regulation, criminal procedure, or civil rights.
About a third of the semester will focus on constitutional questions, considering both the Second Amendment and the various state right-to keep-and-bear-arms provisions. About two thirds of the semester will focus on the policy questions, surveying the criminological and other social science literature. The seminar grade will be based on two or three short writing projects and, in small part, on class participation.