The Right to Bear Arms

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The Second Amendment: Historical Issues

The Founders’ Second Amendment

The Founders’ Second Amendment (2008)

Do Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms? Or is this power vested solely in government? Recent years have seen a sea change in scholarship on the Second Amendment. Beginning in the 1960s, a revisionist view emerged that individuals had a “right” to bear arms only in militia service – a limited, collective right. But in the late 1980s a handful of scholars began producing an altogether persuasive analysis that changed thinking on the matter, so that today, even in canonical textbooks, bearing arms is acknowledged as an individual right. [read more]

That Every Man Be Armed

That Every Man Be Armed (1984, 1994, 2000)

This book, published by the University of New Mexico Press in 1984 and reprinted by the Independent Institute in 1994 and again in 2000, is the most comprehensive work ever written on the right to keep and bear arms, which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Its author, attorney Stephen P. Halbrook, traces the philosophical, historical, and legal roots of the right of the citizen to have arms, beginning in ancient Greece and carrying the analysis forward to legal and policy controversies of today. [read more]

Securing Civil Rights

Securing Civil Rights (1998, 2010)

Whether newly-freed slaves could be trusted to own firearms was in great dispute in 1866, and the ramifications of this issue reverberate in today’s “gun-control” debate. This is the only comprehensive study ever published about the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment and of Reconstruction-era civil rights legislation to protect the right to keep and bear arms. Indeed, this is the most detailed study ever published about the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment to incorporate and to protect from State violation any of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, even including free speech. Paradoxically, the Second Amendment is virtually the only Bill of Rights guarantee not recognized by the federal courts as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. [read more]

A Right to Bear Arms

A Right to Bear Arms (1989)

The right to keep and bear arms was considered a fundamental, individual right in the original 14 states (the 13 colonies and Vermont) from the pre-Revolutionary period through the ratification of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1791. A Right to Bear Arms is the first book to document the deprivation of this right as a cause of the American Revolution and to trace the protection accorded to this right by the framers of the first State constitutions, which inspired the Second Amendment. [read more]

Firearms Law and Precedent

Firearms Law Deskbook

Firearms Law Deskbook (1995, 2013-2014 supplement)

If you are searching for timely information on firearms cases that are similar to yours, analyzing the disparity of gun control laws in different jurisdictions, or planning trial strategy, then Firearms Law Deskbook should be your first point of reference. [read more]

Supreme Court Gun Cases

Supreme Court Gun Cases (2003)

Supreme Court Gun Cases dispels the myth that the High Court has been quiet on the subject of guns. The book runs 672 pages, covers 92 gun-related cases, and this is the bottom line: the Supreme Court has upheld the legal tradition and historical record of private gun ownership, self defense, and armed self defense, since the country began. The days of saying Americans have no individual gun rights are now over. [read more]

Nazi Gun Control Policies

Gun Control in the Third Reich

Gun Control in the Third Reich (2013)

Based on newly-discovered secret documents from German archives, diaries, and newspapers of the time, Gun Control in the Third Reich presents the definitive yet hidden history of how the Nazi regime made use of gun control to disarm and repress its enemies and consolidate power. The countless books on the Third Reich and the Holocaust fail even to mention the laws restricting firearms ownership, which rendered political opponents and Jews defenseless. [read more]


“The Darker Side of Gun Control,” National Law Journal, May 24, 2004, 39.

“Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews,” 17 Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, No. 3, 483-532 (2000). Condensed version: Ch. 9 of Aaron Zelman & Richard W. Stevens, Death by “Gun Control”: The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament (Hartford, WI: Mazel Freedom Press, 2002), 75-111.

“Registration: The Nazi Paradigm,” American Rifleman 52-55, 91 (June 2001). Portuguese-language version: “Repressão Nazista dos Donos de Armas.”