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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Comments (3)
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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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