Saturday, July 7, 2012

Congressional Report on the 2nd Amendment

In 1982 Senator Orrin Hatch commissioned a study on the history of the 2nd Amendment.  The results of this study were published in The Right To Keep and Bear Arms. I have never heard of this report before, even though I have been paying attention to 2nd Amendment issues for some time, and I only learned of it in this article by Jill Lapore in the New Yorker, where she writes:
"The assertion that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to own and carry a gun for self-defense, rather than the people’s right to form militias for the common defense, first became a feature of American political and legal discourse in the wake of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and only gained prominence in the nineteen-seventies. A milestone in its development came when Orrin Hatch, serving on Strom Thurmond’s Senate Judiciary Committee, became chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution. Hatch commissioned a history of the Second Amendment, resulting in a 1982 report, “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” which concluded, “What the Subcommittee on the Constitution uncovered was clear—and long lost—proof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms.”
This makes the report an important historical document in the development of social and legal  thought about the right to keep and bear arms in America, and it helps place in context the RKBA in America today.

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