Randy Barnett v. the "Gun Nuts" and the 9/11 "Truthers"--

I read Randy Barnett's last post on the nasty attacks he received after his views were misconstrued either by a reporter or a blogger (or both).

One of the funniest evenings I ever spent with Randy was at an AALS convention when a prominent historian told Randy and me about his work, which he said would take on the "gun nuts." Randy switched into his prosecutor mode and began carefully interrogating the historian on just what views qualified one as a "gun nut." Was a scholar who believed that the Second Amendment protected an individual right a "gun nut"? Why would someone refer to people who took such views as "nuts"? And if the scholar didn't mean that individual rights scholars were "nuts," then why would he bother in his historical scholarship to take on some non-rational fringe that no one took seriously?

I don't recall if Randy questioned whether "gun nuts" existed, though his distaste for the epithet was obvious; Randy was quite effectively challenging the tendency of anti-gun rights scholars to label serious people with which they disagreed as nuts.

As I wrote during the Bellesiles scandal, I don't understand the passion with which people on both sides approach guns. On that occasion, my research reached conclusions that made the pro-gun rights crowd happy, but when I later wrote critical things about John Lott, I received some pretty strong emails in the genre that Randy received today.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Randy Barnett v. the "Gun Nuts" and the 9/11 "Truthers"--
  2. CNS Messes Me Up: