Eric Ruben

Full-time faculty

Associate Professor of Law

Phone: 214-768-2581




Eric Ruben’s scholarly interests span criminal law, constitutional law, legal ethics, legal empirics, and legal history. His current scholarship explores the regulation of violence and weapons, and how that regulation intersects with self-defense and Second Amendment rights. Ruben teaches criminal law, professional responsibility, and a seminar on the Second Amendment.

Ruben’s work has been published or is forthcoming in the California Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Georgetown Law Journal, Harvard Law Review Forum, Iowa Law Review, Southern California Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Yale Law Journal Forum, and has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, and in legal briefs. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and frequently provides legal commentary for popular outlets, including ABC News, MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Atlantic, Vox, Scotusblog, NPR, and CBS Radio.

Prior to joining SMU, Ruben was a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. Before that, he worked as a criminal defense attorney at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, P.C. and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Ruben received his J.D. from NYU School of Law, where he was an Articles Editor for the NYU Law Review, and his B.A. from Dartmouth College, where he graduated magna cum laude.

Areas of Expertise

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Legal Ethics
  • Second Amendment
  • Weapons Law


B.A., Dartmouth College
J.D., NYU School of Law


Criminal Law
Professional Responsibility
Second Amendment


Originalism-by-Analogy and Second Amendment Adjudication, 133 Yale Law Journal (forthcoming) (with Joseph Blocher)

Self-Defense Exceptionalism and the Immunization of Private Violence, 96 Southern California Law Review 509 (2023)

Public Carry and Criminal Law After Bruen, 135 Harvard Law Review Forum 505 (2022)
SSRN | SMU Repository

“Second-Class” Rhetoric, Ideology, and Doctrinal Change, 110 Georgetown Law Journal 613 (2022) (with Joseph Blocher)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Law of the Gun: Unrepresentative Cases and Distorted Doctrine, 107 Iowa Law Review 173 (2021)
SSRN | SMU Repository

The Gun Rights Movement and “Arms” Under the Second AmendmentBrennan Center for Justice (2021)
SSRN | SMU Repository

An Unstable Core: Self-Defense and the Second Amendment, 108 California Law Review 63 (2020)
SSRN | SMU Repository

You Can Lead a Horse to Water: Heller and the Future of Second Amendment Scholarship, 68 Duke Law Journal Online 1 (2018) (with Joseph Blocher)
SSRN | SMU Repository

From Theory to Doctrine: An Empirical Analysis of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms After Heller, 67 Duke Law Journal 1433 (2018) (with Joseph Blocher)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Justifying Perceptions in First and Second Amendment Doctrine, 80 Law & Contemporary Problems 149 (2017)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Preface: The Second Generation of Second Amendment Law & Policy, 80 Law & Contemporary Problems 2 (2017) (with Darrell A. H. Miller)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Firearm Regionalism and Public Carry: Placing Southern Antebellum Case Law in Context, 125 Yale Law Journal Forum 121 (2015) (with Saul Cornell)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Other Publications

Protests, Insurrection, and the Second AmendmentBrennan Center for Justice (2021) (edited issue)
Brennan Center for Justice

Second Generation of Second Amendment Law and Policy, 80 Law & Contemporary Problems 1-251 (2017) (with Darrell Miller) (edited issue)
Duke Law Repository


The Economist, quoted in The Daniel Perry case shows the contradictions of gun enthusiasts in Texas (April 2023)

ABC News, quoted in At least 74 Illinois sheriff’s departments vow to defy state assault weapons ban (January 2023)

National Law Journal, quoted in Judge May Appoint Historian After Justices’ Turn to New Test in Gun Rights Cases (November 2022)

New York Times, quoted in Court Gives New York State More Time to Argue for Its Gun Law (October 2022) 

NPR, quoted in The ‘Gun Dude’ and a Supreme Court Case that Changed Who Can Own Firearms in the U.S. (August 2022)

N.Y. Daily News, Op-Ed, A Smarter Path to Gun Safety Through Property Rights (July 2022)

CNN, quoted in The Fight to Curb Gun Violence Without Inflaming Racial Biases (July 2022)

Law 360, quoted in How Bruen Ruling Will Change Gun Restrictions Scrutiny (July 2022)

NPR Wisconsin, Guest, What the Supreme Court’s Ruling on a New York Gun Law Means for How We Apply the Second Amendment (June 2022)

New York Times, quoted in States Rush to Revamp Laws After Supreme Court’s Gun Ruling (June 2022)

USA Today, quoted in Gun Rights Groups’ Wave of Lawsuits Could Change America’s Relationship With Firearms (February 2022)

TV and Radio Interviews Regarding Bruen (June 23-24, 2022)
WPIX 11 New York (television)
ABC, Good Morning America
NPR, Morning Edition
ABC, ABC News Prime
Bloomberg Radio, Balance of Power
NPR, All Things Considered
CBS Radio
CNN (television)

USA Today, quoted in Should Guns Be Banned in Bars, Hospitals? Supreme Court Could Spur New 2nd Amendment Fight (June 2022)

NBC News, Interview, NBC News Now with Joshua Johnson (June 2022)

Boston Globequoted in From Concealed Carry to Eliminating Permits, Gun Restrictions Have Loosened Since Sandy Hook (May 2022)

Washington Post, Op-Ed, No, Courts Don’t Treat the Second Amendment as a “Second-Class Right (November 2021) (with Joseph Blocher)