New research on the Second Amendment:

Now online:

Stephen P. Halbrook, "St. George Tucker's Second Amendment: Deconstructing 'The True Palladium of Liberty,'" 3:2 Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy 183 (2007). St. George Tucker was the leading legal commentator of the Early Republic. His edition of Blackstone, which included copious annotations and appendices written by Tucker, was the foundational legal treatise of its era, and the first scholarly analysis of the new U.S. Constitution, and of how American law was diverging from its British ancestor. Halbrook's article shows that Tucker regarded the Second Amendment as an individual right which included a right to own firearms for self-defense and hunting. The article also points out deficiencies in Saul Cornell's treatment of Tucker; Cornell has a tendency to quote Tucker's analysis of militia issues as if the analysis were about the Second Amendment, and to gloss over what Tucker actually wrote about the Second Amendment.

"What Does 'Bear Arms' Imply?" Working Paper by Clayton Cramer and Joseph Olson. Gun prohibition advocates, including the D.C. government in its brief in D.C. v. Heller, contend that the words "bear arms" in the Second Amendment have an exclusively military connotation, and therefore "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" refers exclusively to bearing arms as part of service in a formal state militia. Cramer and Olson show that "bear arms" never had an exclusively military connotation, either before ratification of the Second Amendment, or in the following decades.

"Pistols, Crime, and Public Safety in Early America" is another Working Paper by Cramer and Olson. The authors show that the governments of Founding Era were familiar with handguns, and never regulated them differently from long guns. The typical pistol of the late 18th century could fire only a single shot; however, multi-shot pistols had already been invented; many handgun owners provided themselves with multi-shot capacity by carrying two or more handguns, which was not difficult, since there were many very compact handguns. Accordingly, the successful commercial development of the multi-shot handgun (the Colt's revolver in the 1830s) was (unlike, for example, radio) an example of technological progress that was well within the contemplation of the Founders.