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In the past, American laws seldom attempted to regulate the possession of firearms by the mentally ill. This surprising tradition has waned following a recent series of highly-publicized mass murders that were committed by persons who were identifiably mentally ill before the crime occurred. These tragedies have focused attention on the question of how a free society should handle the conflict between the Second Amendment’s “right of the people” and the needs of public safety. This Article examines why mental healthrelated firearm regulations suddenly became necessary, analyzes the attendant conflicts between civil liberties and public safety, and suggests some strategies to deal with these conflicts.