Legal Briefing: Ban on Possession of Guns Without Serial Numbers Ruled Constitutional

Ban on Possession of Guns Without Serial Numbers Ruled ConstitutionalA daily look at legal news and the business of law:

Right to Own a Gun Doesn't Mean Right to File Off Serial Number

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision finding a state and constitutional right to posses a gun for self-defense in the home, experts predicted a flood of litigation to test the boundaries of the newly announced right. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals just announced one such limit: A federal law banning the possession of a gun with an obliterated serial number is constitutional, reports the Legal Intelligencer. Using a First Amendment analysis to interpret the Second Amendment right, the court held that the government's interest in tracing weapons and otherwise using the gun's serial number was so compelling the law would survive under strict scrutiny, the toughest constitutional standard, even though the court believed that the more government-friendly intermediate scrutiny was in fact the appropriate test.

The result is interesting because the prohibition is on merely possessing a specific category of gun, and the two laws struck down by the Supreme Court were flat prohibitions on possessing guns. The same logic could justify bans on the possession of certain kinds of guns, like assault rifles, or bans on certain types of ammunition, like armor-piercing bullets. Despite all the concern when the Court handed down its decisions, if this opinion is typical of those to come, the new right will be very limited.

Minty Fresh Vocabulary Word of the Day: Nurdle

Not all legal battles are over such weighty issues as constitutional rights. That perfectly shaped squirt of toothpaste adorning toothpaste packages is called a nurdle, and Aquafresh, through its maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is trying to trademark all of them. Glaxo already has a more limited trademark, but when it filed for the broader one and threatened litigation against Colgate-Palmolive (CL), Colgate sued to have a judge say its nurdle didn't infringe Aquafresh's, reports The Wall Street Journal. Glaxo promptly countersued. Glaxo also objects to Colgate's use of the phrase "Triple Action", which it says is too close to its own "Triple Protection" trademark. I'm grateful the companies will keep lots of lawyers employed hashing these issues out -- the legal job market is so grim.

And in the Business of Law...

Speaking of the legal job market, the class of 2012 can have some hope: Firms are intending to hire significantly more summer associates next summer, reports the Am Law Daily. That means the firms anticipate hiring significantly more 2012 graduates.

Read Full Story