The Right to Bear Arms: A Review

It wasn’t until 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, for the Supreme Court to say that the Second Amendment, which states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” does indeed protect an individual’s right. to do so outside of militia service and for non-criminal purposes.

This discrepancy between the right to possess and bear a weapon as expressed in the Constitution and its recognition (or lack thereof) by individual states serves as a point of discussion. The right to bear arms: a constitutional right of the people or a privilege of the working class?, the latest analysis of the history of the Second Amendment by renowned appellate lawyer and scholar Stephen Halbrook.

From the start of the book, it is clear that Halbrook, a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and winner of three Supreme Court cases, has extensive legal experience. In the preface, Renée Lettow Lerner, a Rothschild research professor at George Washington University Law School, goes so far as to say that Halbrook’s work in the 1980s represented “a new birth of freedom” by establishing alone the realm of Second Amendment scholarship.

However, it seems that the fact that the domain had to be established in the first place is precisely why Halbrook decided to write The right and its sister publications (such as Let every man be armed in 1986). As the author himself says, “[s]Since the 1960s, the Second Amendment has suffered more than its fair share of disrespect. He sought and still seeks to correct this injustice.

The Statute of Northampton of 1328, passed by Parliament during the reign of Edward III, forbade “bringing … force into the fight against peace”, terrorizing the king’s subjects by bearing arms.

Unlike most appellate scholarships which offer a revolutionary reinterpretation of one amendment or another and rely on the abstruse legal argument, The right does nothing more than introduce the reader to the history of the Second Amendment, as the author understands that the right of every American to “own and bear arms” does not have to be proven. He knows that a historical account and simple logic are more than enough to verify the true meaning of the amendment: that the citizen has the right to 1) own a weapon, 2) take this weapon with him in his daily life, and 3) use it for their own defense, that of their loved ones, their property and their community, if the circumstances so require.

This brings us to the actual contents of the book.

The main insight the reader takes from The Right is that the Second Amendment did not establish gun and self-defense rights, but preserved them in their pre-existing scope and universality. After all, the right to bear arms is not American law but Anglo-American law – Halbrook traces recognition of this to some of the oldest in common law.

The Statute of Northampton of 1328, passed by Parliament during the reign of Edward III, forbade “bringing … force into the fight against peace”, terrorizing the king’s subjects by bearing arms.

Another law regarding the bearing of arms came in 1350 and made it an offense for “every man of this kingdom”. [to] go up armed or secretly with men-at-arms against another, to kill him, or rob him, or take him, or retain [kidnap] him.”

Despite the best efforts of progressives who claim that the Common Law proves limited meaning to the Second Amendment, the aforementioned laws only restrict the carrying of weapons with violent intent.

The extent of the liberties belonging to the subjects of the English Crown is easily understood in the Declaration of Rights of 1689. The declaration, which codified “true, ancient and undoubted rights”, stipulated that Protestants “may have arms for their defense , appropriate to their condition and as permitted by law”.

Notwithstanding restrictions on Catholic and Irish possession of arms due to fears of trouble, every Englishman was recognized by his government as having the absolute right to own and bear arms.

This right was transferred to the Americas during the colonization of the Thirteen Colonies, explains Halbrook, and even turned into a duty: “Colonial Americans were often required by law to transport them. [weapons].”

American life in 1621, as in 2021, was dangerous. The defense of individuals and their communities against natives and wild animals required a culture of arms. A 1642 Maryland law even required all men over the age of 16 to keep their guns “always ready” (sic.).

The founders of our country and the framers of our Constitution grew up in this culture and embraced it. Halbrook’s example of how Deborah Franklin, wife of Benjamin, defended her Philadelphia home against a riot in 1765 makes this clear. As he puts it, “the founders not only considered the right to own and bear arms to be a fundamental right, but they were also willing to use arms to protect their lives and homes from mob violence.”

Our nation’s love of arms contributed to our birth, as the Militia formed the backbone of the Continental Army. “The recognition of the right to keep and bear arms and its almost universal exercise among the American people contributed greatly to the victory of the Revolutionary War,” Halbrook said.

With these facts in play, the idea that the Second Amendment would do anything other than codify the general right of Americans to own and bear firearms should seem outrageous.

Not to mention the outlandish idea that it is constitutional for jurisdictions to restrict the number of guns or the amount of ammunition an individual can possess: to “[o]On a practical level, during the same period the Declaration was being written, one could freely purchase “100 pairs of horseman’s guns, neatly mounted with steel”, as advertised by a Boston newspaper. »

Moreover, the Framers certainly did not intend that gun rights apply only to a select militia, but to the people’s militia as a whole, the ultimate bulwark against tyranny.

By the time I finished the book, I immediately started making plans with my friends for a day of shooting.

Later portions of The right to bear arms cover the history of the right in pre- and post-war America up to Jim Crow and the revival of the legal controversy over the amendment beginning in the 1960s. However, to be frank, I don’t don’t think these chapters are where the power of the book lies.

The right is valuable because it educates the reader on their natural, constitutionally protected right to own and bear arms with unique power and clarity. How convincing is Halbrook? By the time I finished the book, I immediately started making plans with my friends for a day of shooting.

The author explains in simple terms the fundamental truths of the Second Amendment.

For example, that the right to own and bear arms means more than segregated possession in, virtually, one’s home and one’s home alone (as required by New York State).

That the language of the Constitution would be meaningless if only a militia could keep and bear arms.

That the Second Amendment right pre-existed the Constitution and is equal to the First and Fourth Amendment rights in matters of inviolability, importance to a free society, and universality – after all, these three Amendments are the only parts of the Bill of Rights to explicitly use the term “right of the people”.

Fortunately, as Dartmouth students, we are fortunate to live in New Hampshire, a member of a scattering of jurisdictions where freedom meets fiercer devotion than apathy or neglect.

Through The rightIn the end, it seems more reasonable for someone to read Anglo-American history and conclude that the Framers would have supported the training and arming of every American than anything approaching gun reform. fire of “common sense” proposed by liberals, leftists and their ilk.

With greater democratic control of state legislatures over the past decade, societal dysfunction brought about by COVID-19, and increasingly regular mob and gang violence, the preservation of the divine right to self-defense by owning and carrying weapons is more important than ever. Last year, a young man from Wisconsin faced the sharp end of the liberal establishment’s sword and a covered nationwide trial for using the Second Amendment to suppress a peace-scaring and terrorizing mob. the town of Kenosha.

Some courts would make the Second Amendment right a second-class right, which we had to prove we had in the first place. But Halbrook undoubtedly demonstrates in his book that the onus actually lies with critics of the Second Amendment to prove that they can restrict it.

Fortunately, as Dartmouth students, we are fortunate to live in New Hampshire, a member of a scattering of jurisdictions where freedom meets fiercer devotion than apathy or neglect.

So let’s exercise our gun rights here.

For the right to keep and bear arms – to keep tyrannical governments, barking mobs and treacherous thieves at bay – belongs to us. And the language of the Constitution could not be clearer.

What do proponents of gun control say “must not be broken”?

Comments are closed.