Under Fire: The New Consensus on the Second Amendment

94 Pages Posted: 4 May 2017

Date Written: 1996


This article first rebuts charges made in Gun Crazy, an article which asserts that the near-unanimous consensus supporting the individual rights view of the Second Amendment among historians and legal scholars is the result of a sinister concerted effort by pro-gun professors and fellow travelers. Compelling textual, structural, historical, and criminological evidence supports the new consensus. The article then examines the merits of the interpretation proffered by opponents of an individual right to keep and bear arms: the militia-centric conception of the Second Amendment. Textual, historical, and structural considerations all argue against such an interpretation. Finally, the issue that is really motivating those who reject an individual rights interpretation in favor of a militia-centric conception of the Second Amendment is identified: the allegedly adverse effect of gun ownership on public safety.

Keywords: second amendment, firearms, guns, crime, Constitution, militia, evidence, interpretation

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Barnett, Randy E. and Kates, Don B., Under Fire: The New Consensus on the Second Amendment (1996). Emory Law Journal, Vol. 45, 1996, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2960741 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2960741

Randy E. Barnett (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9936 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.randybarnett.com

Don B. Kates



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