University of Miami Law Review


Beth Coplowitz


In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment case, the Court held that the right to bear arms is an individual right aimed at self-defense in the home. Two years later, McDonald v. City of Chicago extended this right to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. However, lower courts were left with little guidance on what level of scrutiny to apply to gun regulations. As a result, courts have applied various levels of scrutiny including intermediate scrutiny, strict scrutiny, a two-step inquiry that leads to either intermediate or strict scrutiny, and an undue burden standard. Of these, courts seem to favor the hybrid two-step test.

This Comment will propose a more comprehensive and workable method to determine what standard of review to apply to gun regulations—the circle model used in the context of church autonomy and freedom of religion protected by the First Amendment. This model advocates an epicenter comprised of a core right that has two concentric circles revolving around the epicenter. The farther away one moves from the core, the fewer rights one has and the less scrutiny should be applied to any regulations falling within those circles. The circle model would provide guidance on what level of scrutiny to apply to regulations depending on where in this model they fall. This Comment will concentrate specifically on the “who.” The Author will demonstrate how to apply this model to different types of individuals to determine where in this model these individuals fall and thus what level of scrutiny to apply to regulations targeting them.