Before the U.S. Supreme Court in Castillo v. U.S. (2000)

“Stephen Halbrook is an attorney with extensive knowledge of the historical underpinnings of the Second Amendment and practical knowledge of litigating in this rapidly evolving area of law. His writings include topics as diverse as Gun Control in the Third Reich and The Founders’ Second Amendment, and he was heavily involved in Heller and McDonald.”

– U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan
Shepard v. Madigan, 2014 WL 4825592, *7 (S.D. Ill. 2014)

Supreme Court Practice

Practice Areas

Gun Control Act/National Firearms Act

  • Firearm technical classifications
  • ATF regulatory compliance
  • FFL warning conferences, license denials,
    and revocations
  • Forfeitures
  • Legal disabilities and restoration of civil rights
  • Criminal defense

State and Local Laws

  • “Assault weapon” restrictions
  • Legal status of firearms
  • Challenging restrictions

Civil and Criminal Cases Litigated >>

Books

Congressional Testimony

Scholarly Articles

Op-Eds & Short Articles

TV Appearances

Radio Interviews

Instagram Updates

Instagram post 2225518225928779548_8257969936 In 1956, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama.  His house had been bombed and he believed in the right to have a gun for self defense.  However, the local police, who routinely discriminated against blacks, decided he was "unsuitable" to carry a firearm and therefore denied his application.
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#martinlutherking #martinlutherkingjr #concealedcarry #concealedcarrypermit #gunpermitdenied #alabamahistory #1956 #blackhistory #ushistory #americanhistory #mlkday #mlkday2020 #martinlutherkingjrday #civilrights 
#blackgunrights #gunrights #selfdefense #gunlicense #2a #2amendment #rtkba #righttobeararms #constitutionalright #historybuff #selfdefense #blackmanwithagun #BlackGunsMatter #MLK #carryconcealed #historyinphotos

In 1956, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama.  His house had been bombed and he believed in the right to have a gun for self defense.  However, the local police, who routinely discriminated against blacks, decided he was "unsuitable" to carry a firearm and therefore denied his application.
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#martinlutherking #martinlutherkingjr #concealedcarry #concealedcarrypermit #gunpermitdenied #alabamahistory #1956 #blackhistory #ushistory #americanhistory #mlkday #mlkday2020 #martinlutherkingjrday #civilrights 
#blackgunrights #gunrights #selfdefense #gunlicense #2a #2amendment #rtkba #righttobeararms #constitutionalright #historybuff #selfdefense #blackmanwithagun #BlackGunsMatter #MLK #carryconcealed #historyinphotos
...

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Instagram post 2223341576130962949_8257969936 Elizabeth "Plinky" Topperwein and her husband Adolf ("Ad") were known as "the world's greatest husband and wife shooting team" in the early to mid-1900s.  Annie Oakley dubbed "Plinky" as the greatest shooter of all times.  Ad worked for Winchester Repeating Arms Company as a professional shooter.  Shortly after marrying Plinky, he taught her to shoot.  By her third week of lessons, she was shooting chalk from between his fingers with a .22 rifle.  She joined her husband shooting for Winchester and both husband and wife set many shooting records.  Plinky and Annie Oakley were the first women inductees into the Trapshooting Hall of Fame (1969).
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#plinkytopperwein #elizabethtopperwein #adolftopperwein #adtopperwein #shootingteam #winchesterrifle #winchesterrifles #winchesterrepeatingarms #22rifle #professionalshooter #annieoakley #littlemisssureshot #phoebeannmosey #exhibitionshooter #shotgun #pistol #womenshistory #sharpshooter #firearm #firearms #outdoorswoman #womenshooting #trapshootinghalloffame #trapshooting #exhibitionshooting #thecouplethatshootstogether #thecouplethatshootstogetherstaystogether #womenandguns #womenwithguns

Elizabeth "Plinky" Topperwein and her husband Adolf ("Ad") were known as "the world's greatest husband and wife shooting team" in the early to mid-1900s.  Annie Oakley dubbed "Plinky" as the greatest shooter of all times.  Ad worked for Winchester Repeating Arms Company as a professional shooter.  Shortly after marrying Plinky, he taught her to shoot.  By her third week of lessons, she was shooting chalk from between his fingers with a .22 rifle.  She joined her husband shooting for Winchester and both husband and wife set many shooting records.  Plinky and Annie Oakley were the first women inductees into the Trapshooting Hall of Fame (1969).
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#plinkytopperwein #elizabethtopperwein #adolftopperwein #adtopperwein #shootingteam #winchesterrifle #winchesterrifles #winchesterrepeatingarms #22rifle #professionalshooter #annieoakley #littlemisssureshot #phoebeannmosey #exhibitionshooter #shotgun #pistol #womenshistory #sharpshooter #firearm #firearms #outdoorswoman #womenshooting #trapshootinghalloffame #trapshooting #exhibitionshooting #thecouplethatshootstogether #thecouplethatshootstogetherstaystogether #womenandguns #womenwithguns
...

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Instagram post 2222631037335634262_8257969936 ". . . to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; . . ." - Richard Henry Lee. (Federal Farmer, no. 18, Jan. 25, 1788.) For more, see my book The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms.

Photo:  Display at NRA's National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo credit goes to my daughter Lisa.)
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#federalfarmer #richardhenrylee #preserveliberty #liberty #freedom #rights #americanrights #2a #2amendment #rtkba #righttobeararms #foundingfather #patriot #antifederalist #antifederalists #antifederalistpapers #1788 #constitutionalright #greatquotes #greatgunquotes #possessarms #firearmstraining #2ahistory #armed #progun #NRAmuseum #NRAmuseums #firearm #firearms #firearmsphotography

". . . to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; . . ." - Richard Henry Lee. (Federal Farmer, no. 18, Jan. 25, 1788.) For more, see my book The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms.

Photo:  Display at NRA's National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo credit goes to my daughter Lisa.)
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#federalfarmer #richardhenrylee #preserveliberty #liberty #freedom #rights #americanrights #2a #2amendment #rtkba #righttobeararms #foundingfather #patriot #antifederalist #antifederalists #antifederalistpapers #1788 #constitutionalright #greatquotes #greatgunquotes #possessarms #firearmstraining #2ahistory #armed #progun #NRAmuseum #NRAmuseums #firearm #firearms #firearmsphotography
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Instagram post 2221901728031475356_8257969936 For decades, the federal government has treated a mechanism called the lower receiver as the essential piece of the [AR-15] semiautomatic rifle . . . . Prosecutors regularly bring charges based on that specific part.

But some defense attorneys have recently argued that the part alone does not meet the definition in the law. . . . “Now the cat is out of the bag, so I think you’ll see more of this going on,” said Stephen Halbrook, an attorney who has written books on gun law and history. “Basically, the government has gotten away with this for a long time.” . . . .

Federal regulations define a firearm’s “frame” or “receiver” as the piece considered to be the gun itself. But in an AR-15, the receiver is split into upper and lower parts — and some of the components listed in the definition are contained in the upper half. That has led judges to rule that a lower receiver alone cannot be considered a gun. “I think the criminal defense bar has kind of let their clients down for letting this go on for all these years,” Halbrook said." Excerpted from Jake Bleiberg and Stefanie Dazio, "Design of AR-15 could derail charges tied to popular rifle." AP News, Jan. 13, 2020.  Full article at: https://apnews.com/396bbedbf4963a28bda99e7793ee6366
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#ar15 #ar15rifle #rifle #rifles #guns #gun #firearms #firearm #ar15design #ar15lowerreceiver #firearmslaw #firearmslaws #gunlaws #gunparts #ar15style 
#pro2a #rtkba #rkba #righttobeararms #beararms #2a #2ndamendment #secondamendment #rtba #constitutionalright #therightofthepeople #ShallNotBeInfringed #stephenhalbrook #apnews #gunbackgroundchecks

For decades, the federal government has treated a mechanism called the lower receiver as the essential piece of the [AR-15] semiautomatic rifle . . . . Prosecutors regularly bring charges based on that specific part.

But some defense attorneys have recently argued that the part alone does not meet the definition in the law. . . . “Now the cat is out of the bag, so I think you’ll see more of this going on,” said Stephen Halbrook, an attorney who has written books on gun law and history. “Basically, the government has gotten away with this for a long time.” . . . .

Federal regulations define a firearm’s “frame” or “receiver” as the piece considered to be the gun itself. But in an AR-15, the receiver is split into upper and lower parts — and some of the components listed in the definition are contained in the upper half. That has led judges to rule that a lower receiver alone cannot be considered a gun. “I think the criminal defense bar has kind of let their clients down for letting this go on for all these years,” Halbrook said." Excerpted from Jake Bleiberg and Stefanie Dazio, "Design of AR-15 could derail charges tied to popular rifle." AP News, Jan. 13, 2020.  Full article at: https://apnews.com/396bbedbf4963a28bda99e7793ee6366
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#ar15 #ar15rifle #rifle #rifles #guns #gun #firearms #firearm #ar15design #ar15lowerreceiver #firearmslaw #firearmslaws #gunlaws #gunparts #ar15style 
#pro2a #rtkba #rkba #righttobeararms #beararms #2a #2ndamendment #secondamendment #rtba #constitutionalright #therightofthepeople #ShallNotBeInfringed #stephenhalbrook #apnews #gunbackgroundchecks
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17 2
Instagram post 2221174444651737876_8257969936 "This book is about a perfect storm of the most extreme form of gun control, in which the risk of facing a firing squad failed to motivate compliance by many French citizens.  The failure to comply with the decrees to surrender all arms, made possible by the prewar refusal of many French to register their firearms, was a form of armed resistance that could be passive but had the potential to become active, and did so in many cases.  As such, it was a constant source of uncertainty to the occupiers, causing them to devote resources to additional security measures and thereby away from more efficiently pursuing other measures of repression, such as rounding up Jews or conscripting French citizens for forced labor." - from Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance, p. 7.
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#guncontrolnazioccupiedfrance #germanoccupation #gunownership #gunrestrictions #franceguncontrol #wwii #wwiihistory #frenchguncontrol #nazi #naziguncontrol #francehistory #guncontrol #nazioccupiedfrance #righttobeararms #guncontrolinnazioccupiedfrance #ww2guns #gunconfiscation #gunregistration #nazilaws #disarm #ww2history #rtkba #europeanhistory #disarm #firearmsregistration #tyranny #ww2resistance #jewsww2 #guncontrolnever #guncontrolinhistory

"This book is about a perfect storm of the most extreme form of gun control, in which the risk of facing a firing squad failed to motivate compliance by many French citizens.  The failure to comply with the decrees to surrender all arms, made possible by the prewar refusal of many French to register their firearms, was a form of armed resistance that could be passive but had the potential to become active, and did so in many cases.  As such, it was a constant source of uncertainty to the occupiers, causing them to devote resources to additional security measures and thereby away from more efficiently pursuing other measures of repression, such as rounding up Jews or conscripting French citizens for forced labor." - from Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance, p. 7.
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#guncontrolnazioccupiedfrance #germanoccupation #gunownership #gunrestrictions #franceguncontrol #wwii #wwiihistory #frenchguncontrol #nazi #naziguncontrol #francehistory #guncontrol #nazioccupiedfrance #righttobeararms #guncontrolinnazioccupiedfrance #ww2guns #gunconfiscation #gunregistration #nazilaws #disarm #ww2history #rtkba #europeanhistory #disarm #firearmsregistration #tyranny #ww2resistance #jewsww2 #guncontrolnever #guncontrolinhistory
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Instagram post 2220441030139140096_8257969936 "The Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect not only blacks but all citizens against state violence and deprivation of rights.  Its framers considered the right to keep and bear arms as more fundamental than any other right because it guaranteed one's very existence and it served to protect freedom of speech and other liberties.  They regarded arms possession as a fundamental right for protection against both private and official aggression, such as that sanctioned under color of law or committed by state agents.  Since arms would always exist, including those in the hands of a potentially oppressive government, all people by the standards of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments may be armed for self-defense." From That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, p. 197.
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#rtkba #rkba #righttobeararms #firearmslaws #2ahistory #thateverymanbearmed #armedpopulace #armedcitizen #beararms #14a #14thamendment #righttobeararms #2a #2ndamendment #ushistory #secondamendment #guns #rtba #constitutionalright #therightofthepeople #ShallNotBeInfringed #armedblackman #blackrightsmatter #civilrights #14amendment #blackgunrights #gunrights #selfdefense #blackmanwithagun #1stamendment

"The Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect not only blacks but all citizens against state violence and deprivation of rights.  Its framers considered the right to keep and bear arms as more fundamental than any other right because it guaranteed one's very existence and it served to protect freedom of speech and other liberties.  They regarded arms possession as a fundamental right for protection against both private and official aggression, such as that sanctioned under color of law or committed by state agents.  Since arms would always exist, including those in the hands of a potentially oppressive government, all people by the standards of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments may be armed for self-defense." From That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, p. 197.
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#rtkba #rkba #righttobeararms #firearmslaws #2ahistory #thateverymanbearmed #armedpopulace #armedcitizen #beararms #14a #14thamendment #righttobeararms #2a #2ndamendment #ushistory #secondamendment #guns #rtba #constitutionalright #therightofthepeople #ShallNotBeInfringed #armedblackman #blackrightsmatter #civilrights #14amendment #blackgunrights #gunrights #selfdefense #blackmanwithagun #1stamendment
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14 0
Instagram post 2218269770525380655_8257969936 "War has been declared on Virginia’s gun owners by the Democrats who recently won both houses of the General Assembly. Most notorious is Senate Bill 16 by Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, which would impose five years imprisonment on law-abiding citizens who possess the most common firearms in America today. Among other proposed restrictions on conduct that has been lawful since Jamestown was settled in 1607, not one would penalize criminal misuse of guns.

The firearms to be banned are mostly semiautomatic rifles with features that facilitate accurate shooting. They include an adjustable shoulder stock to make it fit one’s size, a pistol grip to enable a firm hold (the same type used in Olympic rifles), and a muzzle brake to reduce kick. Even a flare launcher is a banned feature — distress signals will be verboten. These innocuous features somehow transform a gun into an “assault” weapon in the proponents’ fantasy land.

The above is excerpted from my latest analysis, published in yesterday's Washington Times.  See this link for the rest of the article:  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/9/northams-war-on-gun-owners-in-virginia/
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#2asanctuary #2asanctuarycounties #governornortham #virginialaws #righttobeararms #rtkba #rtba #2ndamendmentrights #firearmslaw #gunowner #vagunlaws #vagunowners #defendthe2nd #guncontrol #2a #donotinfringe #2arights #gunrestrictions #lawabidinggunowner #billofrights #semiautomaticrifle #semiautorifle #semiauto #continentalcongress #constitutionalcounty #gunsafety #assaultweapons #flarelauncher #pistolgrip #muzzlebrake

"War has been declared on Virginia’s gun owners by the Democrats who recently won both houses of the General Assembly. Most notorious is Senate Bill 16 by Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, which would impose five years imprisonment on law-abiding citizens who possess the most common firearms in America today. Among other proposed restrictions on conduct that has been lawful since Jamestown was settled in 1607, not one would penalize criminal misuse of guns.

The firearms to be banned are mostly semiautomatic rifles with features that facilitate accurate shooting. They include an adjustable shoulder stock to make it fit one’s size, a pistol grip to enable a firm hold (the same type used in Olympic rifles), and a muzzle brake to reduce kick. Even a flare launcher is a banned feature — distress signals will be verboten. These innocuous features somehow transform a gun into an “assault” weapon in the proponents’ fantasy land.

The above is excerpted from my latest analysis, published in yesterday's Washington Times.  See this link for the rest of the article:  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/9/northams-war-on-gun-owners-in-virginia/
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#2asanctuary #2asanctuarycounties #governornortham #virginialaws #righttobeararms #rtkba #rtba #2ndamendmentrights #firearmslaw #gunowner #vagunlaws #vagunowners #defendthe2nd #guncontrol #2a #donotinfringe #2arights #gunrestrictions #lawabidinggunowner #billofrights #semiautomaticrifle #semiautorifle #semiauto #continentalcongress #constitutionalcounty #gunsafety #assaultweapons #flarelauncher #pistolgrip #muzzlebrake
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23 1
Instagram post 2217552831918357827_8257969936 "In 1777, Joseph Belton test fired an 8-shot musket before members of the Continental Congress, which authorized him to make 100 such firearms. Robert Held, The Belton Systems, 1758 & 1784-86: America’s First Repeating Firearms 17 (1986). He later demonstrated a 16-shot repeater that was recommended for approval by the Congress. Id. at 37.  The Founding generation was thus aware of improvements in firearms technology that allowed repeated shots to be fired without reloading. Such firearms were well within the right to bear “arms” for defense of self and state declared in the first state constitutions." This excerpt is from the brief for amicus curiae which I wrote for the National African American Gun Association, Inc. in support of petitioners in the U.S. Supreme Court case Worman v. Healey.  The brief is on my website at:  https://www.stephenhalbrook.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/19-404-Amicus-Brief-of-National-African-American-Gun-Association-Inc..pdf

Photo: "Eight-shot or single-shot flintlock fusil made by Joseph Belton in Philadelphia, 1758". Source: https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_440031  If you go to this link, there are several more photos and details of this flintlock.
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#JosephBelton #musket #muskets #repeatingfirearm #repeatingfirearms #beltonsystems #foundingfathers #continentalcongress #firearmstechnology #repeatingrifle 
#naaga #2ahistory #2ndamendmentmeaning #guncontrol #firearm #firearms #nationalafricanamericangunassociation #righttocarry #2ndamendmentcases #2acases #2a #2ndmendment #rtkba #righttobeararms #gunowners #firearmslaws #constitutionalright #donotinfringe #2arights #2ndamendmentrights

"In 1777, Joseph Belton test fired an 8-shot musket before members of the Continental Congress, which authorized him to make 100 such firearms. Robert Held, The Belton Systems, 1758 & 1784-86: America’s First Repeating Firearms 17 (1986). He later demonstrated a 16-shot repeater that was recommended for approval by the Congress. Id. at 37.  The Founding generation was thus aware of improvements in firearms technology that allowed repeated shots to be fired without reloading. Such firearms were well within the right to bear “arms” for defense of self and state declared in the first state constitutions." This excerpt is from the brief for amicus curiae which I wrote for the National African American Gun Association, Inc. in support of petitioners in the U.S. Supreme Court case Worman v. Healey.  The brief is on my website at:  https://www.stephenhalbrook.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/19-404-Amicus-Brief-of-National-African-American-Gun-Association-Inc..pdf

Photo: "Eight-shot or single-shot flintlock fusil made by Joseph Belton in Philadelphia, 1758". Source: https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_440031  If you go to this link, there are several more photos and details of this flintlock.
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#JosephBelton #musket #muskets #repeatingfirearm #repeatingfirearms #beltonsystems #foundingfathers #continentalcongress #firearmstechnology #repeatingrifle 
#naaga #2ahistory #2ndamendmentmeaning #guncontrol #firearm #firearms #nationalafricanamericangunassociation #righttocarry #2ndamendmentcases #2acases #2a #2ndmendment #rtkba #righttobeararms #gunowners #firearmslaws #constitutionalright #donotinfringe #2arights #2ndamendmentrights
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Marathon & Triathlon Photos

Reykjavík Half-Marathon, 2019
Reykjavík, Iceland

Jungfrau Marathon, 2004
Jungfrau, Switzerland

Marine Corps Marathon
Washington, D.C.

Alcatraz Triathlon, 2001
San Francisco, California

Berlin Marathon, 2019
Berlin, Germany

Berlin Marathon, 2017
Berlin, Germany