Document Type


Subject Area

General Law Division


The debate around what types of “arms” the Second Amendment protects is revitalized in the wake of Bruen’s renewed focus on our historical tradition as the determinative factor in Second Amendment cases. Thus far, several district courts have upheld state “assault weapon” bans in part by relying on an overly sanitized version of the Second Amendment that our founders, as well as their immediate descendants in the 19th century, would consider unrecognizable. While prior generations of Americans undoubtedly believed self-defense, hunting, and sport were all important components of the right to keep and bear arms, an overriding purpose frequently dominated their discussion of that right: preventing and responding to tyranny. This Article aims to bring renewed attention to the overwhelming amount of founding-era and 19th-century commentary that emphasizes the importance of the Second Amendment right as a tool to resist tyranny. In light of the clear history, so-called “assault weapon” bans and similar laws are incompatible with our historical tradition and should be struck down.




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