Discussing “Rights Versus Duties, History Department Lawyering, and the Incoherence of Justice Stevens’s Heller Dissent” by Nicholas J. Johnson

2. “The Statute of Northampton by the Late Eighteenth Century: Clarifying the Intellectual Legacy” by Patrick J. Charles

December 20th, 2013

2. "The Statute of Northampton by the Late Eighteenth Century: Clarifying the Intellectual Legacy" by Patrick J. Charles

In a article examining the “myths and realities about early American gun regulation,” Saul Cornell provides new insight as to how the right to arms outside the home evolved in Antebellum law.[1]  Cornell’s article is arguably the first to seriously examine this legal development and I do not challenge his general findings in this regard.[2]  Where we seemingly diverge is the role that the Statute of Northampton served in this process, particularly its intellectual impact by the turn of the nineteenth century.[3]

1. “The Second Amendment and Militia Rights: Distinguishing Standard Model Legal Theory from the Historical Record” by Patrick J. Charles

September 23rd, 2013

1. "The Second Amendment and Militia Rights: Distinguishing Standard Model Legal Theory from the Historical Record" by Patrick J. Charles

In this Journal’s symposium edition Gun Control and the Second Amendment, Nicholas J. Johnson argues the Standard Model Second Amendment is the correct interpretation in both law and history.  In particular, Johnson chastises any historically based militia interpretation as “nonsense” because it conflates rights with duties.[1]  Frustrated with different militia focused interpretations of the Second Amendment, he queries: “How many tries are allowed before the enterprise loses credibility?”[2]  To those historians that have waded through the evidentiary record, the irony of Johnson’s view that scholarship should not improve and evolve in response to new research and on-going scholarly debate will not go unnoticed.