Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines what the U.S. Constitution says about the right to bear arms. It begins with an overview of the changing meaning of the right to bear arms in American history, along with the English origins of the right to bear arms. It then considers the origins of the Second Amendment before turning to a discussion of the right to bear arms during the antebellum period, with emphasis on the emergence of the first gun laws aimed expressly at the problem of gun violence and the first cases focused on evaluating such laws in constitutional terms. It also explores the emergence of a federal Second Amendment jurisprudence during the Civil War and Reconstruction and the debate over gun rights versus gun control, and concludes by citing how the dynamics of that debate was influenced by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Keywords: Constitution, right to bear arms, Second Amendment, gun laws, Civil War, Reconstruction, Gun Rights, Gun Control, massacre, Sandy Hook Elementary

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.