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The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms Has Outlived Its Usefulness

The BriefGet Up To Speed

'€œA well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.'€ '€“2nd Amendment

Recent mass shooting tragedies have renewed the national debate over the 2nd Amendment. Gun ownership and homicide rates are higher in the U.S. than in any other developed nation, but gun violence has decreased over the last two decades even as gun ownership may be increasing. Over 200 years have passed since James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, the country has changed, and so have its guns. Is the right to bear arms now at odds with the common good, or is it as necessary today as it was in 1789?


If proponents of gun control fail to understand or respect the opposing point of view, they may well undermine their own interests in achieving reform.

Thursday, June 20, 2013
David Cole

Before you mock the idea of a constitutional amendment, consider that hardly anyone is happy with our unstable status quo: gun enthusiasts fear their rights are under constant threat; gun-control advocates point to the danger of illegal guns and easy access to firearms.

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Zachary Elkins

We should seek gun control and a Constitution that means something.

Monday, March 19, 2007
Benjamin Wittes

Alan Gura comments on Second Amendment Rights.

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Alan Gura

Those who favor a society without gun rights seem to be prone to spreading false information.

Thursday, May 2, 2013
Kyle Wintersteen

In the wake of the D.C. shooting, some lawmakers are pushing for new regulations on firearms. But legislation should never be passed in the heat of a crisis.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Nick Gillespie

No guarantee exists that the presence of an armed officer would stop the next disaster. But it would give the potential victims a chance.

Monday, January 28, 2013
Stephen Halbrook

Discussion of the Second Amendment and related Supreme Court decisions—United States v. Miller, District of Columbia v. Heller, and McDonald v. Chicago.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
CRS Annotated Constitution

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

Thursday, June 26, 2008
Supreme Court of the United States

This report provides an overview of prior judicial treatment of the Second Amendment, with a focus on the litigation in Heller and the potential impact of its outcome.

Friday, April 11, 2008
T.J. Halstead

The Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms fully applicable to the States.

Monday, June 28, 2010
Supreme Court of the United States

This report discusses salient and recurrent gun control issues that have generated past or current congressional interest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
William Krowse
State Gun Laws

50 states, plus Washington D.C., are ranked to find out which are most pro-gun based on laws for firearms.

Thursday, March 14, 2013
James Tarr

Since federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry licenses does not yet exist in the U.S., individual states are left with the task of regulating concealed carry laws within their own borders.

Thursday, October 24, 2013
G&A Online Editors
Gun Violence

The CDC and the CDC Foundation asked the IOM, in collaboration with the National Research Council, to convene a committee tasked with developing a potential research agenda that focuses on the causes of, possible interventions to, and strategies to minimize the burden of firearm-related violence. The report found no persuasive evidence of available studies that the passage of right to carry laws decrease or increase violent crime.

Saturday, June 1, 2013
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
Collective v. Individual Rights

The assertion that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to own and carry a gun for self-defense, rather than the people’s right to form militias for the common defense, first became a feature of American political and legal discourse in the wake of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and only gained prominence in the nineteen-seventies.

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Jill Lepore

Historians’ view that the private keeping of firearms was manifestly not the right that the framers of the Bill of Rights guaranteed in 1789.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Jack Rakove

After a heyday from 1968 to 1990, the collective right theory met its ignominious end in 2008, collectively rejected by a unanimous Supreme Court. It was a well-deserved demise of a theory that never should have gained traction.

Thursday, September 1, 2011
David Kopel

Opposition to banning handgun ownership remains at record-high 74%.

Friday, October 25, 2013
Lydia Saad

Americans strongly believe it is not possible to entirely prevent mass shootings like the one in Washington, DC on Monday but think help for the mentally ill will do much more than gun control to reduce the number of incidents of this kind.

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Rasmussen Reports
Also Interesting

How do we reduce gun crime and Aurora-style mass shootings when Americans already own nearly 300 million firearms? Maybe by allowing more people to carry them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Jeffrey Goldberg

One nation, under the gun.

Monday, April 23, 2012
Jill Lepore

A statement written by Stone and Adam Winkler, signed by more than 50 constitutional law professors, refutes claims that the Second Amendment precludes Congress from enacting legislation to reduce gun violence in the United States.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Geoffrey Stone