The Founders' Second Amendment

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Overview

Do individuals have a constitutional right to bear arms in a free society? Or is this power vested solely in the state? Tackling a hotly debated and polarizing political issue, Stephen Halbrook seeks to answer this debate by presenting the views of the Founders who created the Second Amendment.

Stephen Halbrook argues that the traditional interpretation of the Second Amendment, which states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of...

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Overview

Do individuals have a constitutional right to bear arms in a free society? Or is this power vested solely in the state? Tackling a hotly debated and polarizing political issue, Stephen Halbrook seeks to answer this debate by presenting the views of the Founders who created the Second Amendment.

Stephen Halbrook argues that the traditional interpretation of the Second Amendment, which states, "A 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," has always been that individuals have a right to possess and carry firearms, and that an armed populace constitutes a militia that secures a free country. However, beginning primarily in the 1960s, he argues, the revisionist view became prominent that only a "collective" power of the States exists to maintain militias free of federal control, and that individuals have a "right" to bear arms in militia service, but not otherwise.

This work—the first book-length account of the nature of the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms during the founding of the American Republic—is based on the Founders’ own statements, as found in newspapers, correspondence, debates, and resolutions. The period covered by the book extends from 1768 to 1826, from the last years of British rule and the American Revolution through to the adoption of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the passing away of the Founders' generation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804756815
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2008
  • Pages: 424

Meet the Author

Stephen P. Halbrook is a practicing attorney and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.

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  • Posted April 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    greatest history book on the subject

    greatest history book on the subject

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