Monday, July 7, 2014, 7:30 – 8:45pm

Michael Waldman: ‘The Right to Bear Arms’

Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. $5.

© Adrian Kinloch
Civics, Media Library

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Gun control is a highly debated topic, but how many of the arguments are based on the actual Constitution?  In The Second Amendment: A Biography, NYU’s Michael Waldman looks at the history of this “misunderstood provision,” highlighting the sway political parties have on our modern understanding of “the right to bear arms.” Waldman examines how the creation of the law, subsequent court decisions, and other historical factors have turned this Amendment “upside-down and inside-out.” Waldman is President of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law.

Presented by: Town Hall, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and University Book Store, as part of the Civics series. Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, and the True-Brown Foundation. Series media sponsorship provided by The Stranger and KUOW.
Learn more: About the author.

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  1. Zeke
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Actually, the standard established by the US Supreme Court pertaining to the National Firearms Act of 1934 includes specifically any weapon that might be used by a soldier on a battlefield. Its justification for upholding a ban on sawed off shotguns was that there was no battlefield infantry use for that weapon. And “arms” would include anything not falling under the definition of “ordinance”, such as cannons and hand grenades. And BTW, .50 caliber sniper rifles are legal to own, as are .50 caliber black powder buffalo guns from the 19th century.

    Your argument that this isn’t the 1700s scores no points either. The 1st Amendment was also written in the 1700s when there were no radio and TV news shows, no internet, no desktop publishing, and no copy machines. Do you think, therefor, that we can legitimately limit free speech not delivered in person on the street corners, and writings not printed on a Gutenberg press?

    The right to keep and bear arms is one of the ten rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to plainly state that certain rights are inherent in our status as human beings, and that no government can be allowed to suppress those rights. An interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that cites an individual right to own and bear arms is consistent with that purpose. Interpretations of that amendment that purport to limit its scope to a militia is inconsistent with that purpose. The establishment and management of a militia has nothing to do with securing the rights of human beings that are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”.

  2. LW
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” – Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution.

    The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms” – Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms.”- James Madison Federalist Papers 46

    “to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason

    Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.- Patrick Henry

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  1. […] gun ownership in America, it doesn't outline how those guns are to be kept. The right to keep and bear arms is a controversial topic that sparks lively debates in homes and public forums around the country. […]

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