Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment

Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment

Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment

Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment

Excerpt

Mention the Second Amendment, and all too often, people reach for their revolvers. Discussion degenerates into a hysteria that may win elections for hard-liners and fund lobbying campaigns but changes nothing. Living with Guns is my attempt to defuse that hysteria.

Americans on both sides of the debate about guns can and must find common ground. We can only begin to claim it by reexamining the right to bear arms, what it means, why it was enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and how it came to be misunderstood. The bottom line is that our national affinity for firearms isn’t going away, no matter what anti-gun advocates would like to think. True believers in gun rights may not have all the answers, but they are certainly right about one thing: We can live with guns. We have no other choice, with so many of them around.

Do Americans have an individual constitutional right to own and use guns? Living with Guns maintains that the Second Amendment recognizes that they do have that individual right. A conservative majority of the Supreme Court has said they do, too, in two 5–4 rulings in 2008 and 2010 against handgun bans in Washington, DC, and Chicago. The Court went further, finding that the Second Amendment gave Americans that right primarily for self-defense. Many state legislatures around the country say Americans have an individual right to firearms; all states but Illinois, plus the District of Columbia and some cities, like New York, allow carrying of handguns in most . . .

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