Heller and Insurrectionism
15 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2008 Last revised: 22 Sep 2015
Date Written: December 16, 2008
The most significant aspect of District of Columbia v. Heller is the Court's pronouncement that the Founders intended to guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms. But there is another idea lurking in the Court's opinion with potentially great ramifications of its own: the idea that the Founders gave us a right to keep and bear arms as an ultimate check against governmental tyranny. This is an insurrectionist theory because it legitimizes a right of the people to be armed, potentially to go to war against their own government. The Court, however, so far, has embraced this idea tentatively and perhaps not irrevocably. Drawing on Burkean principles, as well as those of the Founders, this essay is a plea that the Court reconsider its endorsement of insurrectionism.
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