Is the Second Amendment Outdated or Misinterpreted?

16 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2022

Date Written: October 4, 2022


[This article addresses the problem of rising homicide rates in the United States. The centerpiece of the legal issue is Justice Scalia’s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, which declares that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms is not limited by the qualifying language that a “well regulated militia ... [is] necessary to the security of a free state.” Instead he declares that it enshrines the right of every citizen to bear arms for personal self-defense.

This article does what Scalia did not do. It examines the history of organized militias, organized and controlled by states and local governments, and considered essential to protect sovereign states from being disarmed by a standing army of the federal government. In essence, it demonstrates that the original understanding of the Second Amendment was to protect states, not individual citizens.

It then proceeds to examine the possible results of a laboratory of the states in dealing with rising crime and homicide rates, examining both local studies and the experience of other nations. Even such drastic remedies as the death penalty are shown to reduce homicides overall.

Keywords: homicide, gun, firearm, control, second, amendment

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Carney, William J., Is the Second Amendment Outdated or Misinterpreted? (October 4, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

William J. Carney (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1221 Fairview Road, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-373-7198 (Phone)
n/a (Fax)

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