The 2nd amendment a biography book

the 2nd amendment a biography book
Nothing in that amendment means you can own an assault rifle, an automatic weapon, armor-piercing bullets, or concealed handguns. Less Detail edit details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Through the 19th and for most of the 20th centuries the 2nd Amendment was rarely invoked to protect rights of individuals.

Hellerwhich found an enforceable federal right to home handgun ownership, and McDonald v. City of Chicagowhich found that right binding on the states. To Waldman, however, the idea of an individual right to gun ownership is not just wrong but ridiculous; those who disagree are not just mistaken but fools. But he dismisses prominent scholars as idiots without examining their arguments; this simply will not do. But the dispute is not really about history. Those who favor gun regulation would argue that in there were no semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity magazines.

Individual gun ownership was a matter of civil law, not the Constitution. The current attitudes are the result of NRA propaganda, since the NRA has become the representative of the gun industry.

Book review: “The Second Amendment:A Biography,” by Michael Waldman

Mar 30, Jonathan rated it it was ok. Jan 16, Susan Plummer rated it it was amazing. Every American should read this!! Jul 11, Kevin rated it really liked it Shelves: Nov 21, Matt rated it really liked it. Given how infused the gun debate in the United States is with fundamentalist 2nd Amendment rhetoric and arguments, it might be surprising to many readers that interpreting the 2nd Amendment to mean individual gun rights is largely a recent phenomenon. For the amendment a biography book years prior, the 2nd Amendment seemed to have been forgotten.

The few court cases that did pop up rejected individual rights to gun ownership, and upheld gun control legislation p. At the same time, even though gun control legislation was fairly common place—and upheld by the courts when challenged—plenty of people owned guns, even more so than today.

But now, for the first time, gun policy is debated within the context of the Constitution protecting individual gun rights.

What really impressed me about this book was how accessible and comprehensive it was. And many the amendments a biography book might not be able to overcome these prejudices. The first section takes readers through a history of the 2nd Amendment, from its colonial origins, to its Constitutional debate and ratification, and through the 19th century and 20th centuries, where modern gun control issues and legislation arose.

The debate surrounding the 2nd Amendment during the Constitutional Convention turned on the balance of power between state militias and the need for a national military force. What a world removed are from that. Despite the deliberation, militias went extinct shortly after the Revolution. The question and topic seems mostly anachronistic. Out of all the versions of the 2nd Amendment that were discussed during the Constitutional Convention, not one mentioned individual gun rights. Through the 19th and for most of the 20th centuries the 2nd Amendment was rarely invoked to protect rights of individuals.

Local, state and then federal legislators were able to pass gun control legislation when needed. And when it was challenged, the courts upheld the laws. This chapter puts the revolution that occurred within the NRA squarely into the cultural milieu and political realignment of the 60s and 70s that also saw the rise of anti-government and conservative Christian interest groups.

The organizational abilities of these groups and their ability to get out the vote proved decisive in many elections in the 80s, 90s, and through George W. The section continues with a detailed history and explanation of how the courts became more conservative, along with public opinion.

the 2nd amendment a biography book

The absurdity of originalism is clear. These people came from a different world, and one that is long lost.

The Second Amendment: A Biography

Why should 2nd spirits be consulted on issues of firearms, or healthcare, when they got so many things wrong few would consult them on modern medical, science, or ethical issues? Waldman does a great job explaining how originalism came about, its rationale, and its severe limitations p.

Significantly, Heller specifically does not shut the door on gun control legislation. Every judge now needs to be a historian or diviner. This is the ultimate fault of originalism. This legislation is no longer judged by balancing tests but simply through an originalist interpretation of history and laws. Given the Heller ruling, which officially and unprecedentedly enshrined individual gun rights in the 2nd Amendment, one might now think that that settles the question.

People have a right to own guns now, regardless of the previous history and jurisprudence of the 2nd Amendment.

And originalism is the the logic behind interpreting American law. Not so fast, argues Waldman. He gives us three takeaways from his book. It is profoundly political and a logically weak way to interpret law. The second takeaway is that the US judiciary is profoundly political. As an American citizen, these takeaways make me feel pretty helpless. My country is ultimately guided by a political institution that claims impartiality and is using an interpretive framework that is profoundly weak.

But the third takeaway is that the people are empowered and public opinion on amendments biography book matter. But staying politically active and helping to shape public opinion ultimately affects how a country is run and how law is interpreted. The notes at the end of the book provide further information on the topics and arguments made in the book and I look forward to examining these sources more closely. I hope to have that reviewed by early-mid September. Aug 10, Pacific Lee rated it liked it. Be advised that this is a Lefty book lock, stock, and barrel - the author is obviously severely butthurt about the Heller decision.

I don't really know who his intended audience is, but he implies that the gun sales spiked after Obama won 'cause of racism, and calls AR owners "gun toting boys," there are many such cringy moments in this piece. That amendment biography book said, I give this book three stars for at least having a coherent argument. The crux of his thesis targets "Originalism," the idea behind th Be advised that this is a Lefty book lock, stock, and barrel - the author is obviously severely butthurt about the Heller decision. The crux of his thesis targets "Originalism," the idea behind the Heller decision that the Constitution should disregard everything, including existing precedent, except contemporary attitudes at the time the document was created.

This is important, because up until Hellerthe Supreme Court ruled multiple times that the Constitution did not guarantee individual rights to firearms but to State militias. Even as a gun-owner, I have to say I agree with this guy, it is very difficult if not impossible to know what the original intent was, and the ultimate interpretation we make is likely to be skewed just as much as any other decision. What time period do we focus on? Post-Civil War when significant amendments were made?

the 2nd amendment a biography book

Whose opinions do we focus on? Moreover, I agree with his argument that the original concern behind the 2nd Amendment was likely about Federal encroachemnt on the State's authorities through disarming the militias.

This seems more plausible to me than the idea that everyone should have arms in order to defend against any and all forms of authority, including their own States. What is my problem with gun control? It is that "gun violence" is blown enormously out of proportion by the left. Suicides and gang violence are societal issues, and they cannot be legislated away. He also concedes that there is no evidence gun control has reduced crime levels anywhere in the country, actually claiming that "criminal the amendment policy is rarely ever solely about what works.

Gun control, as much as gun rights, can become a matter of faith" p. Let's expend enormous political and economic capital to enact laws that don't work on the faith that the intangible benefits will outweigh the cost? I see that there will eventually have to be a compromise, though, and I think this could be made at something biography book universal background checks. This is where both sides of the aisle should meet. Anyway, read this book if you want a perspective on the gun debate from a bitter leftist's POV, post It was insightful to know where they are coming from.

Jun 30, Larry Massaro rated it really liked it.

'The Second Amendment' is a smart history of guns and the U.S.

Illuminating and a bit depressing. It was illuminating to learn the legislative history of the 2nd Amendment during the drafting, debates, and passage of the Bill of Rights. The NRA, Tea Party, et al, want us to believe that the first half of the amendment--"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state. Indeed, Waldman tells us that an edited, abbreviated version of the amendment is emblazoned on the lobby wall of NRA HQs: Heller decision, have decided that Americans have an individual right to own guns, on the grounds that this is what the framers of the Constitution intended.

History, Waldman demonstrates, pretty much says otherwise. The Bill of Rights was drafted in the political and contentious effort to get the Constitution ratified in the first place. Remember that the constitutional convention was tasked to "fix" the Articles of Confederation, and didn't actually have a mandate to draft a whole new constitution.

And the convention worked in secret, so that when the biography book constitution was published, creating an effective national government, it caused an uproar. The Bill of Rights--which most of the framers thought was unnecessary--was a compromise to win the approval of the groups who hated and feared the idea of a strong central government--that is, who opposed federalism. The 2nd amendment was a football of sorts, undergoing numerous revisions, and it reflected its time in a way that's hard even to imagine today.

Our world is so different, and the original intent of the 2nd amendment is meaningless today. One of the greatest the amendments of the Anti-Federalists was Congress's power to create an army, and the 2nd amendment was drafted to calm that fear, and to clarify that Congress didn't intend to upset the status quo--which meant state militias.

Americans years ago lived in a much more provincial and commutarian age in which every white man had an obligation to the state a phrase that today's conservatives would revile to "muster" regularly for the militia.

The militia, composed not of professional soldiers but of every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the state, was the colonial's idea of police power and community defense, and citizens were REQUIRED to buy their own weapons and to maintain them in support of the state. In the amendment a biography book, musters, when they happened at all, were often little more than drinking parties, and there was little enforcement in regard to guys who just didn't show up.

But there was much patriotic sentiment in favor of the militia idea: The anti-federalists balked when they realized that the amendment a biography book the new constitution Congress could create a "standing army," which sounded tyrannical to many people. The 2nd amendment was a tactic to address that particular objection to the constitution--it ensured that the citizens of the states had the means to resist a tyrannical federal army. It just didn't come up. It wasn't the issue that was being challenged or debated. In fact, there was much local gun regulation in the colonial era and throughout the 19th century--people didn't carry guns into stores, or to church, or to the post office.

There were no handguns at the time of the Framers, so "bearing arms" was always visible and threatening; regular folks just didn't carry their muskets with them as they went about their daily business. If you lived on the frontier, you probably did need a rifle to protect your family from Indians or wildlife or other threats, and you probably did hunt for food.

Nowhere in the constitutional debate was this concept ever threatened, or even thought about. It just didn't come up, because the debates that gave birth to the Bill of Rights weren't about frontiersmen battling natives. The debates happened in New York and Philadelphia and Boston, where citizens may never have seen Indians. The debate was about the maintenance of a "well regulated militia," and it concerned a sizable portion of the non-frontier population who hated and feared the idea of a national army.

the 2nd amendment a biography book

That world doesn't exist anymore. We don't muster for our states--just imagine! We are much more likely to fear our fellow amendments who have handguns concealed in their jacket pockets.

The very concept behind the 2nd amendment--that the white men in a state, as an armed and well-regulated militia, could and should resist the US Army--was essentially put to bed by the Civil War.

When the militias evaporated, so did the biography meaning of the Second Amendment. The idea that we should arm the population so they could mount an insurrection against the government, just in case, seems absurd. So that's the illuminating part. I didn't know this history, at least in this detail.

The depressing aspect of this book is the realization of how much we have allowed our law and public policy to be shaped by the NRA, the amendment "half-remembered history or sentimentalized notions of personal empowerment. His ultimate point is that our Constitutional rights are shaped by today's needs and today's public opinion, not by some misguided notion of originalism. In some ways we can see ourselves in the Americans ofbut we shouldn't count on it. Our worlds are too book. Disappointing On the one hand, The Second Amendment: A Biography offers a fair summary of the framing of the Second Amendment, the paucity of interpretations of its meaning by the Supreme Court, the cultural shifts and advocacy that affected political power, and the novelty of the Heller biography book.

On the other hand, the book seems more of a skewed legal brief than the sort of history it advocates--thorough and dispassionate. The ultimate purpose seems to be advocacy that those who wish to restric Disappointing On the one hand, The Second Amendment: The ultimate purpose seems to be advocacy that those who wish to restrict guns need to learn the methodologies of their enemies in order to turn the tide. The book has merits.

the 2nd amendment a biography book

I learned from this book. It gave me things to think about and questions to pursue in further reading. But, it failed to meet my expectations. The author is smart and knowledgeable; he could have produced a better book. Sep 03, Andy Zell rated it really liked it. A Biography by Michael Waldman is an important book that looks at two important things regarding the Constitution.

First, it is a history of how the Second Amendment has been interpreted. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it wrestles with how to interpret the Constitution today, showing how the theory of originalism does not work as a coherent theory of interpretation.

So first the history of the amendment.

‘The Second Amendment’ and ‘This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed’

The Second Amendment is notoriously difficult to interpret because it has such a strange grammatical structure: It is this context that informs the writing of the Second Amendment. It was the duty of every adult male in the community to join the militia and bring his own gun when training or book mustered for duty. The courts of the early era mostly all understood the right espoused in the Second Amendment as a collective right so that there could be a local militia.

Waldman then proceeds to give a history of the NRA, showing how it evolved from a marksmanship and recreational organization to the militant lobbying group it has become today. It should also be pointed out that law review articles are not peer reviewed. These articles cited each other and found tenuous arguments and often misunderstood or taken out of context quotes to bolster their claims. The NRA itself was not above trying to misconstrue the founders when it suited their purpose.

This sea change in interpretation of the amendment culminated in the Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller which finally established a federal individual right to own a gun. Two years later, in McDonald v. The late Antonin Scalia, a amendment biography believer in originalism when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, wrote the Heller majority opinion. This is notable because the decision picks and chooses from the original context of the writing of the amendment, avoiding much of the history of militias.

Then, it moderates somewhat by mentioning a list of exceptions to the absolute individual right to a gun i.

the 2nd amendment a biography book

They are clearly in the opinion in order to secure the swing vote so that it could pass The Second Amendment has a curious grammatical construction: His concluding the amendment a biography book contains some very interesting observations, the most striking of which I quote below: About rhapsodyinbooks We're into reading, politics, and intellectual exchanges.

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But over the past four decades, it has been thrust to the center of public controversy. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. For years, judges overwhelmingly concluded that the amendment simply authorized states to form militias, which we now call the National Guard.

Its foggy wording and odd syntax caused lawyers and scholars to debate its puzzling commas and clauses. Then, inin the case of District of Columbia vs. Helleran opinion of the U. Supreme Court written by Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the Constitution confers a right to own a gun for self-defense in the home.