117 Penn St. L. Rev. 755 (2013) Penn State Law Review Online Companion Penn State Law Review

117 Penn St. L. Rev. 755 (2013)

Dan Terzian


Can robotic weapons be “Arms” under the Second Amendment?  This article argues that they can.  In particular, it challenges the claim that the Second Amendment protects only weapons that can be carried in one’s hands, which has roots in both Supreme Court Second Amendment doctrine, namely District of Columbia v. Heller, and scholarship.  Scrutinizing these roots shows that Heller did not create such a requirement and that little, if any, constitutional basis for it exists.

This article also contextualizes robotic weapons within the established Second Amendment framework for arms.  Robotic weapons are not yet arms, but there is no legal impediment—nor should there be—to them becoming arms.

Finally, this article presents an alternative theory of Second Amendment protection for robotic weapons based on auxiliary rights, in light of the Seventh Circuit case United States v. Ezell.  This article posits that Second Amendment auxiliary rights include the right to employ a bodyguard, whether human or robot.


preferred citation:: Dan Terzian, The Right to Bear (Robotic) Arms, 117 Penn St. L. Rev. 755 (2013).

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