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Second Amendment



  • History Suggests Gun Control Will be an Uphill Fight

    by Joanna Paxton Federico

    The National Rifle Association has succeeded in blocking popular gun control legislation since it overcame strong public support in the 1930s for national handgun registration in FDR's "New Deal for Crime." 


  • Why Andrew Jackson Believed in Gun Control

    by Anders Walker

    Andrew Jackson loved guns, but his correspondence with John C. Calhoun from 1818 shows that he believed that the Second Amendment didn't guarantee an individual right to own them and that regulation was key to public safety. 


  • There Oughtta Be a Law

    by Jim Zirin

    A veteran prosecutor weighs in on how American law must erase the distinction between "fully automatic" and "semiautomatic" weapons and ban the weapons that are used in massacre after massacre.



  • The Sandy Hook Settlement Could Transform the Marketing of Guns

    by Tracy L. Barnett

    The settlement between Remington and the families of victims does not accept fault, but it does establish the dangerous connection between the marketing of guns as totems of masculinity and the damage done by young men who acquire them with ease. 



  • America as a Tactical Gun Culture

    by Chad Kautzer

    "Vigilantism is fueled by an individualist notion of sovereignty more dangerous than any military-grade weaponry. It rejects the freedom of others as equal to one’s own and views any attempt to support such equality as tyranny."



  • How Much is the NRA to Blame for the Gun Culture?

    Two new books help to shed light on how the NRA, partisan politicians, and the gun industry "took a political base of hunters and nurtured a new, expanded audience of gun guys," and how they made Americans live in their world. 


  • Will SCOTUS Force Us All to Find Out How Polite an Armed Society Will Be?

    by Jim Zirin

    The Supreme Court's oral arguments in a challenge to New York State's gun laws suggest the court is willing to defy precedent and history and assume a power that the Constitution reserves to the people and states, forcing all communities to accept the concealed carrying of firearms.



  • Gun Culture is Priming Americans for Authoritarianism

    by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

    American gun culture devalues human life, desensitizes us to the presence of deadly force in our daily lives, and underlines the message that our fellow citizens are dangerous enemies.



  • How Racism Permeates the Politics of Guns

    Historians Carol Anderson and Yohuru Williams are featured in a new documentary examining the ways that American gun rights discourse has been filtered through racism. 



  • How the Modern NRA Was Born at the Border

    by Sierra Pettengill and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

    Sierra Pettengill's new short documentary "The Rifleman" connects racist violence at the US-Mexico border and the politics of influential NRA leader Harlon Carter, who for decades concealed the fact that he was convicted at age 17 of murder for shooting a Mexican youth in Laredo. She discusses that story with historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.



  • Letters From an American: March 23, 2021

    by Heather Cox Richardson

    Beginning in the 1970s, the National Rifle Assocaition evolved into a political lobbying organization increasingly enmeshed with the conservative movement. Two recent mass shootings are a tribute to the organization's success. Congratulations.