The Second Amendment: Does It Really Let You Bear Arms?

What does the Second Amendment mean? It's something that the Supreme Court has never really said. In this hour long video, Cass Sunstein, a very well known law professor from the University of Chicago, takes a crack at interpreting this amendment and seeing whether its original meaning actually confers the right to bear arms. Originalists/conservatives probably won't like his conclusions, and they may be inclined to dismiss this as a talk given by another liberal elitist. But they should keep in mind that Sunstein actually saw the Bush administration's wiretapping as having a plausible legal basis, and he's had anything but a harsh assessment of John Roberts' track record as a judge.

This talk was recorded on October 23, 2007.


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  • ben j says:

    reeeeeally good talk. my friend and I sat down to watch it, and before we started, we laid out our positions, basically one on each side of the debate. Sunstein proceeds to explain how we’re both wrong. Awesome.

  • Jud Williams says:

    The Second Amendment clearly asserts that each state is “free” and able to maintain a militia to remain free. This is unlike many other countries, where local militias are nonexistent. This is one of the unique qualities of the United States. If a foreign power were to invade America, they would have to overrun the militia of each state and each state would in turn have to surrender before the central government is forced to capitulate to such an invading power. The American Civil War is a clear example of how this works as each state of the former Confederacy was required to pledge allegiance to the federal government prior to being readmitted to the Union. It goes without saying that for a militia to be effective, it would necessarily need to possess arms. So why would the amendment go on to say that the people have the right to bear arms? That would be merely stating an obvious redundancy, since a militia is in the business of carrying out military functions, which includes the use of arms. The key to the second part of the amendment is that the “people” have the right to bear arms. By using the word “people,” the amendment is stating that it is a right to be enjoyed by all Americans in an inclusive sense.

  • Tonya says:

    Am I correct that People who have served time and have felonies, but have been trouble free for over 25 – 30 years, and are now upstanding, hard working, and honest citizens, still have the right to bare arms and protect their home, even though they have a few nonviolent felonies on their record?

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