Peculiar View of Second Amendment Can Be Linked to Scalia

, New Jersey Law Journal


Some gun enthusiasts get their viewpoint from a decision in which Justice Antonin Scalia said a major purpose of the Second Amendment was to provide opportunity for people to store arms to be able to overthrow an oppressive government.

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What's being said

  • Libertas

    Saith the professor: "No one bothers to explain just how a band (or even a horde) of armed citizens - even if armed with AK-47s - is going to compete with the U.S. Army with its drones, tanks and whatever!"

    Ah, if only the Founders had been so practical in their response to the Coercive Acts of 1774, we might all have that lovely British accent we so admire. After all, who in his right mind would think he could oppose His Majesty's world-bestriding armed forces?

  • Marlene Browne

    "In 1995, Wills wrote a long article about the Second Amendment for The New York Review of Books. Though the article was originally titled ‘Why We Have No Right To Bear Arms’, that was not Wills contention and he neither wrote the title nor approved it prior to the article’s publication.[16] Instead, Wills argued that the Second Amendment does not justify private ownership of guns but rather refers to the right to ‘keep and bear arms’ in a military context only. Furthermore, that military context does not entail the right to overthrow the government of the United States:

    The Standard Model finds, squirrelled away in the Second Amendment, not only a private right to own guns for any purpose but a public right to oppose with arms the government of the United States. It grounds this claim in the right of insurrection, which clearly does exist whenever tyranny exists. Yet the right to overthrow the government is not given by government. It arises when government no longer has any authority. One cannot say one rebels by right of that nonexistent authority. Modern militias say the government itself instructs them to overthrow government - and wacky scholars endorse this view. They think the Constitution is so deranged a document that it brands as the greatest crime a war upon itself (in Article III: 'Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them...') and then instructs its citizens to take this up (in the Second Amendment). According to this doctrine, a well-regulated group is meant to overthrow its own regulator, and a soldier swearing to obey orders is disqualified from true militia virtue.[17]"

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