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Arms and the Antebellum Experience a. Arms and the Southern Order p. A History Ignored Conclusion: Self-Defense and the Gun Control Question Today It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, It is a constitutional debate that has taken place largely in the absence of Supreme Court opinion.
The debate over the Second Amendment is ultimately part of the larger debate over gun control, a debate about the extent to which the Amendment was either meant to be or should be interpreted as limiting the ability of government to prohibit or limit private ownership of firearms. Waged in the popular press,  in the halls of Congress,  and increasingly in historical and p.
They argue that, while maintaining a "well-regulated militia"  was the predominate reason for including the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, it should not be viewed as the sole or p.
Statutes of limitations in florida and massachusetts essay argue that the framers also contemplated a right to individual and community protection.
This debate has raised often profound questions, but questions generally treated hastily, if at all, by the community of constitutional scholars. If the Second Amendment was designed to ensure the existence of somewhat independent state militias immune from federal encroachment, then the question arises to what extent states are free to define militia membership.
Could a state include as members of its militia all adult citizens, thus permitting them an exemption from federal firearms restrictions? If, instead, the federal government has plenary power to define militia membership and chooses to confine such membership to the federally controlled National Guard, does the Second Amendment become a dead letter under the collective rights theory?
If the collective rights theory raises difficult questions, the individual rights theory raises perhaps even more difficult, and perhaps more interesting ones. Other questions are more elusive, more difficult to pose as well as to answer. At the heart of the individual rights view is the contention that the framers of the Second Amendment intended to protect the right to bear arms for two related purposes.
The first of these was to ensure popular participation in the security of the community, an outgrowth of the English and early American reliance on posses and militias made up of the general citizenry to provide police and military forces.
The framers had firsthand experience with such a phenomenon, but they lived in an age when the weapon likely to be found in private hands, the single shot musket or pistol, did not differ considerably from its military counterpart.
Although the armies of the day possessed heavier weapons rarely found in private hands, battles were fought predominately by infantry or cavalry with weapons not considerably different from those employed by private citizens for personal protection or hunting.
Where should the proper lines be drawn with respect to modern firearms, all of which employ technologies largely unimagined by the framers? In the eighteenth century, the chief vehicle for law enforcement was the posse comitatus, and the major American military force was the militia of the whole.
While these institutions are still recognized by modern law,  they lie dormant in late twentieth-century America. Professional police forces and a standing military p. It is possible that the concept of a militia of the armed citizenry has been largely mooted by social change.
Yet, the effect of social change on the question of the Second Amendment is a two-edged sword. If one of the motivating purposes behind the Second Amendment was to provide a popular check against potential governmental excess, then does the professionalization of national and community security make the right to keep and bear arms even more important in the modern context?
Furthermore, the question remains whether the concept of a militia of the whole is worth re-examining: Did the framers, by adopting the Second Amendment, embrace a republican vision of the rights and responsibilities of free citizens that, despite the difficulties, should somehow be made to work today?
Finally, the Second Amendment debate raises important questions concerning constitutional interpretation, questions that need to be more fully addressed by legal historians and constitutional commentators.
It poses important questions about notions of the living Constitution, and to what extent that doctrine can be used to limit as well as extend rights. It also poses important questions about social stratification, cultural bias, and constitutional interpretation.
Many of the issues surrounding the Second Amendment debate are raised in particularly sharp relief from the perspective of African-American history.
With the exception of Native Americans, no people in American history have been more influenced by violence than blacks. Private and public violence maintained slavery.
This article explores Second Amendment issues in light of the Afro-American experience, concluding that the individual rights theory comports better with the history of the right to bear arms in England and Colonial and post-Revolutionary America.
The article also suggests that Second Amendment issues need to be explored, not only with respect to how the right to keep and bear arms has affected American society as a whole, but also with an eye toward subcultures in American society who have been less able to rely on state protection.
The remainder of this article is divided into five parts. The English distrust of the lower classes, and then certain religious groups, was replaced in America by a distrust of two racial minorities: Native Americans and blacks.
Part II examines antebellum regulations restricting black firearms ownership and participation in the militia.
Part III examines the intentions of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment with respect to the Second Amendment and how nineteenth-century Supreme Court cases limiting the scope of the Second Amendment were part of the general tendency of the courts to limit the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment.Gloria welcomes your correspondence.
While she makes every attempt to respond, time constraints sometimes prevent her from answering everyone. Vol. 46, No. 2, Summer ARTICLES. Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality Catharine A. MacKinnon. A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate.
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Nelson, this is highly articulate, penetrating, and displays very clear thinking. You might have pointed out, however, that federal enforcement of civil rights is constitutionally based in the Fourteenth Amendment, which isn’t .