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History

The Untold, Somewhat Embarrassing Story Behind the NRA’s Laudatory Messages from President’s Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower

Posted by on September 23, 2019

To say the history of gun rights is full of hyperboles, misnomers, and myths would be an understatement.  Time and time again, when historians examine the history of gun rights, it turns out that what is long claimed to be settled history is more nominal than real.  There is an abundance of examples of this, […]

Heller and the Vagaries of History

Posted by on September 16, 2019

By now, Heller’s central holding is familiar: whatever other restrictions it may impose, the government cannot ban handgun possession in the home because “the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon.” But what “people” made that choice? Not The People who ratified the Second Amendment in 1791. For them, the […]

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law Jefferson B. Fordham Debate

Posted by on September 10, 2019

This past Thursday, I was delighted to participate in the 36th Annual Jefferson B. Fordham Debate at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City.

Firearms Law Workshop Mini-Symposium, Part V: The Use of the Second Amendment to Reject Conscription

Posted by on August 26, 2019

In 2019, national conscription, or the draft, no longer feels like the ominous threat to civil liberties that it once did. Today, American male citizens must still register at 18 and there are existing proposals and a national commission considering expanding the draft to include women. Yet, the first and most significant fight over the […]

Firearms Law Workshop Mini-Symposium, Part IV: Regulation, Not Rights: the Early History of a National Firearms Industry

Posted by on August 23, 2019

It should be no surprise that today some of the biggest gun companies are in New England, where the government fostered the development of firearms manufacturing. These include Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC (Hartford, CT), Smith and Wesson (Springfield, MA), and Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc., (Southport, CT). Although discussions of gun culture today tend to […]

Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop

Posted by on August 7, 2019

On Friday, the Center for Firearms Law hosted the first of what we hope will become an annual Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop. The immediate goal was to give scholars—especially those new to the area—a chance to engage with another’s work. More broadly, and in keeping with the Center’s overall mission, our hope was to help […]

Book Mini-Symposium Part I: Militias, Bearing Arms, and the Forgotten Language of Eighteenth-Century Rights

Posted by on July 30, 2019

Although most modern Americans could easily dispense with the militia clause of the Second Amendment, eighteenth-century Americans generally believed that the preamble’s affirmation of the necessity of a well-regulated militia was far more important than asserting a right to keep and bear arms. Indeed, most of the first state constitutions did not even mention the […]

What’s in a name? The Evolution of the Term “Gun”

Posted by on July 24, 2019

The 1828 edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language (which Justice Scalia cited in District of Columbia v. Heller when he defined “arms,” “keep,” “carry,” and “militia”) defined “gun” as “[a]n instrument consisting of a barrel or tube of iron or other metal fixed in a stock, from which balls, shot, or other […]

Twitter Series: Historical Gun Law a Day

Posted by on July 23, 2019

The Center’s Twitter account—@DukeFirearmsLaw—has been a way for us to get out information about the Center, interesting scholarship and cases, and news about this blog. And we’ve recently started amplifying laws from the Repository of Historical Gun Laws. Through our new hashtag #HistoricalGunLawADay series, we’ve been highlighting one new historical law every single day, showing […]

Minors and Firearms: A Divided Nation

Posted by on July 19, 2019

In my last blog series, I discussed laws currently in the Repository of Historical Gun Laws that relate to the category “Felons, Foreigners and Others Deemed Dangerous By the State.” I have begun wading into a new category on the Repository over the past few weeks: “Possession By, Use of, and Sales to Minors.” Recently, […]