The Second Amendment

The Intent and Its Interpretation by the States and the Supreme Court


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About the Book

“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.” Legal historians, analysts, judges and commentators have long disagreed about the original scope and intent of these words, making up the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Individual right theorists interpret it as protecting the personal privilege to own and carry firearms, while collective right theorists interpret it as only protecting the privilege of a collective society to bear arms in relation to militia service.
This book examines the contentions of both groups and concludes that the amendment is meant only to protect the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” for the purpose of defending the country in a militia force against standing foreign or domestic armies. In crafting his argument, the author examines the Second Amendment in exacting detail. On June 28, 2010, the book was cited by Associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in a dissenting opinion for the landmark case McDonald v. City of Chicago.

About the Author(s)

Patrick J. Charles is an historian for Air Force Special Operations Command and the author of many articles and books on the Constitution, legal history, and standards of review. His writings have been cited by numerous federal circuit courts, and by the Supreme Court in McDonald v. City of Chicago. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Patrick J. Charles
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4270-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5273-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Preface      1
Introduction: The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment      5

1. The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed      15
2. Revisionist Judicial Interpretation and Review      48
3. Placing the Second Amendment in Its Proper Historical Context      71
4. The Conditional Right to Keep and Bear Arms      95
5. “In Defence of Themselves and the State”      131
6. Bearing Arms in the Ohio Constitution      158

Chapter Notes      179
Bibliography      207
Index      217