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gun control



  • The NRA's Amicus Brief Machine

    Lax disclosure rules about who funds the groups filing amicus briefs means that the NRA has been able to use its wealth to flood the courts with briefs that exaggerate the strength of its radical pro-gun positions, says historian Patrick J. Charles. 



  • Originalism is Just Selective History

    by David H. Gans

    "This is a Court that insists it is following history and tradition where they lead, while cherry-picking the history it cares about to reach conservative results."



  • The Christian Right's History is Bad Scholarship, But Great SCOTUS Lobbying

    by Lauren R. Kerby

    Two consequential court rulings hinged on historical interpretation of abortion and gun rights. The court's majority borrowed this history from the religious right's campaign to craft a historical narrative to justify white Protestant nationalism.


  • Dark Skies Over SCOTUS

    by James D. Zirin

    If the Supreme Court justices don't want to be perceived as partisan hacks, the latest rulings aren't helping their cause. 



  • On the Historical Dilettantes Practicing Originalism

    by Joshua Zeitz

    "The functional problem with originalism is that it requires a very, very firm grasp of history — a grasp that none of the nine justices, and certainly few of their 20-something law clerks, freshly minted from J.D. programs, possess."



  • History Suggests Gun Control Will be an Uphill Fight

    by Joanna Paxton Federico

    The National Rifle Association has succeeded in blocking popular gun control legislation since it overcame strong public support in the 1930s for national handgun registration in FDR's "New Deal for Crime." 


  • Why Andrew Jackson Believed in Gun Control

    by Anders Walker

    Andrew Jackson loved guns, but his correspondence with John C. Calhoun from 1818 shows that he believed that the Second Amendment didn't guarantee an individual right to own them and that regulation was key to public safety. 


  • There Oughtta Be a Law

    by Jim Zirin

    A veteran prosecutor weighs in on how American law must erase the distinction between "fully automatic" and "semiautomatic" weapons and ban the weapons that are used in massacre after massacre.


  • Will SCOTUS Force Us All to Find Out How Polite an Armed Society Will Be?

    by Jim Zirin

    The Supreme Court's oral arguments in a challenge to New York State's gun laws suggest the court is willing to defy precedent and history and assume a power that the Constitution reserves to the people and states, forcing all communities to accept the concealed carrying of firearms.



  • Why are Medieval Weapons at the Center of a Supreme Court Case?

    by Jennifer Tucker

    The history and traditions of English law inform American judicial interpetation today, including efforts to discern the functional meaning of the Second Amendment. A group of historians has briefed the Court that restricting dangerous weapons in public is long-established. 



  • How Racism Permeates the Politics of Guns

    Historians Carol Anderson and Yohuru Williams are featured in a new documentary examining the ways that American gun rights discourse has been filtered through racism. 



  • Letters From an American: March 23, 2021

    by Heather Cox Richardson

    Beginning in the 1970s, the National Rifle Assocaition evolved into a political lobbying organization increasingly enmeshed with the conservative movement. Two recent mass shootings are a tribute to the organization's success. Congratulations. 



  • Why Heller is Such Bad History

    by Noah Shusterman

    Antonin Scalia's opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller ignored the actual history of the early American militia in order to invent an individual right to gun ownership.