The Right to Bear Arms: What Does the Second Amendment Really Mean?


Nicholas Johnson was quoted in The Guardian regarding an individual’s right to bear firearms.

For most of the republic’s lifespan, from 1791 to 2008, those commas and clauses were debated by attorneys and senators, slave owners and freedmen, judges, Black Panthers, governors and lobbyists. For some, the militia was key; for others the right that shall not be infringed; for yet others, the question of states “Americans have been thinking about the second amendment as an individual right for generations,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. “You can find state supreme courts in the mid-1800s where judges say the second amendment protects an individual right.”

…versus the federal government. For the most part, the supreme court stayed out it.


“People look at the same record and come to wildly different conclusions about what the view was in the 18th century, in the 19th century,” said Nicholas Johnson, a Fordham University law professor who argues against Winkler’s view of 20th-century case law.


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