The Second Amendment, by far the most controversial amendment to the US Constitution, will soon celebrate its 225th anniversary. Yet, despite the amount of ink spilled over this controversy, the debate continues on into the 21st century. Initially written with a view towards protecting the nascent nation from more powerful enemies and preventing the tyranny experienced during the final years of British rule, the Second Amendment has since become central to discussions about the balance between security and freedom. It features in election contests and informs cultural discussions about race and gender.
This book seeks to broaden the discussion. It situates discussion about gun controls within contemporary debates about citizenship, culture, philosophy and foreign policy as well as in the more familiar terrain of politics and history. It features experts on the Constitution as well as chapters discussing the symbolic importance of Annie Oakley, the role of firearms in race, and filmic representations of armed Hispanic girl gangs. It asks about the morality of gun controls and of not imposing them.
The collection presents a balanced view between those who favour more gun controls and those who would prefer fewer of them. It is infused with the belief that through honest and open debate the often bitter cultural divide on the Second Amendment can be overcome and real progress made. It contains a diverse range of perspectives including, uniquely, a European perspective on this most American of issues.
'The Second Amendment and Gun Control: Freedom, Fear and the American Constitution provides a nicely balanced overview of a complex issue in American law and public policy. Yuill and Street have done a superb job of bringing together some of the leading scholars on the differing sides of this multi-layered controversy. The individual chapters are well done. You will agree with some, disagree with others, but in the end you will find that all of them make you think. It will be a must read for both students of the subject and general readers alike.'
Robert J. Cottrol, Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law and Professor of History and Sociology, The George Washington University, USA and author of The Long, Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race and Law in the American Heimisphere (University of Georgia Press, 2013)
Chapter 1: Constitutional Mythology and the Future of Second Amendment Jurisprudence after Heller - Saul Cornell
Chapter 2: The Second Amendment Right to Self-Defence: The Core Freedom in the New Century - Joyce Lee Malcolm
Chapter 3: Annie Get Your Gun: Women, Performance and the Western Heroine - Karen Jones
Chapter 4: "A gun is a gun is anyone’s hand;" Shooting the Gang Girl in Mi Vida Loca - Emma Horrex
Chapter 5: "The Thought of a Black Male with a Weapon Scares America": African Americans, the Second Amendment, and the Racial Politics of Armed Self-Defense in the Civil Rights Era and Beyond - Simon Wendt and Rebecca Rössling
Chapter 6: From Virtuous Armed Citizen to "Cramped Little Risk-Fearing Man": The Meaning of Firearms in an Insecure Era - Kevin Yuill
Chapter 7: Gun Rights and the Rule of Law - Firmin DeBrabander
Chapter 8: To endure for all time or to change with the times? The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment - Emma Long
Chapter 9: Mr. Gingrich's Bequest: Globalising the Second Amendment? - Peter Squires
Chapter 10: The Universal Right of Self-Defense, and the Auxiliary Right to Defensive Arms - David B. Kopel
Controversies in American Constitutional Law presents and engages with the contemporary developments and policies which mould and challenge U.S. constitutional law and practice. It deals with the full spectrum of constitutional issues, publishing work by scholars from a range of disciplines who tackle current legal issues by reference to their underlying legal and political histories and the philosophical perspectives that they represent. Its cross-disciplinary approach encourages analysis of past, present and future challenges to the idea of U.S. constitutionalism and the power structures upon which it rests. The series provides a forum for scholars to challenge the boundaries of U.S. constitutional law and engages with the continual process of constitutional refinement for the protection of individual rights and liberties, within an evolving framework of legitimate government. CALS promotes research, scholarship, and educative programs in all areas of U.S. law, and is the home of the British Journal of American Legal Studies. Faculty members have extensive experience in submitting amicus curiae briefs to the United States Supreme Court and lower federal courts, and advising on criminal justice issues in many states. CALS coordinates the largest British law undergraduate internship program to the United States. Through this program, and members' research, CALS has created relationships with over one hundred partners in over twenty-five states. CALS faculty advise public bodies and provides professional training and speakers at conferences across the USA.
Series Editors, Dr Jon Yorke and Dr Anne Richardson Oakes, Centre for American Legal Studies, School of Law, Birmingham City University, UK