TITLE: So you think you know the Second Amendment (2012)
SOURCE: The New Yorker
AUTHOR: Jeffrey Toobin
WEB STATS: http://nyr.kr/YeFpsS+
(1) The Second Amendment is not only a matter of law, but a matter of politics. Conservatives put originalism aside to alter a long-held legal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. (2) The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical. (3) Courts have found that the 1st part, the “militia clause,” trumps the 2nd part, the “bear arms” clause. As a result, the 2nd Amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms; it did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon. This changed after a post-coup d’état-NRA came into the picture in 1977. A novel interpretation of the 2nd Amendment was then sought, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms. An uphill battle was fought and, eventually, won, but not without brute political force. It wasn’t until the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Supreme Court fully embraced the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment.