The Second Amendment and the Inalienable Right to Self-Defense
George Mason University School of Law
April 17, 2014
First Principles, No. 16, April 2014
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 14-11
This paper provides a very concise introduction to the history of the Second Amendment and the case law as it stands today.
Modern debates about the meaning of the Second Amendment have focused on whether it protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms or a right that can be exercised only through militia organizations like the National Guard. This question, however, was apparently never even raised until long after the Bill of Rights was adopted. Early discussions took the basic meaning of the amendment for granted and focused instead on whether it added anything significant to the original Constitution. The debate later shifted because of changes in the Constitution and in constitutional law and because legislatures began to regulate firearms in ways undreamed of in our early history.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: natural right, private, individual, collective, original meaning, militia, standing army, regulation, state, federal, Federalists, Anti-Federalists, District of Columbia v. Heller, McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ezell, United States v. MarzzarellaAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 20, 2014
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