Cover image for The right to bear arms : rights and liberties under the law
The right to bear arms : rights and liberties under the law
Spitzer, Robert J., 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxii, 263 pages ; 24 cm.
Origins : the British heritage -- The colonial experience -- The Constitution -- The Bill of Rights -- The decline of the old militia system -- Supreme Court rulings -- Other court rulings -- The textbook view -- Twentieth-century issues : alternate views -- The "right of revolution" -- Spreading arguments in the media -- Seeking shelter under the Fourteenth Amendment -- The Second Amendment and politics -- Rights talk -- The twenty-first century : the Brady Law, the assault weapons ban, and beyond -- The new militia movement -- Recent court actions -- Escalating Second Amendment rhetoric -- Key people, cases, and events -- Documents : the Calling Forth Act of 1792 -- The Uniform Militia Act of 1792 -- United States v. Cruikshank (1876) -- Presser v. Illinois (1886) -- United States v. Miller (1939) -- Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove (1982) -- State right-to-bear-arms provisions -- Major party platform statements on gun control.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF3941 .S68 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



An objective examination of the Second Amendment, focusing on the intentions of its authors, its evolution from America's beginnings to the present, and the views expressed by the courts.

* A detailed analysis traces the right to bear arms from its origins in Britain into the 21st century

* The book includes key primary source documents, such as federal regulations and Supreme Court decisions, a list of the right to bear arms provisions from 44 state constitutions, and excerpts from the Republican and Democratic Party platforms

Author Notes

Robert J. Spitzer is Distinguished Service professor of political science at the State University of New York, Cortland, NY.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Spitzer is eminently qualified to prepare this up-to-date, comprehensive volume on the constitutional right to bear arms. He has authored numerous books in the area of American politics and over 150 articles and essays in refereed journals. He has also testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on the subject of gun control and interpretations of the Second Amendment. There are three main substantive foci in the book: the historical origins of the right to bear arms, a look at the statutory changes in this realm during the past century, and an analysis of recent events, such as the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. The book also contains an excellent chronology of key events as well as a lengthy bibliography. It may be compared with Wilbur Edel, Gun Control: Threat to Liberty or Defense against Anarchy? (1995) and Spitzer's The Politics of Gun Control (CH, Nov'95). The writing style is easy to follow, and the author does a good job of presenting his material in an objective manner. General readers and lower-division undergraduates through graduate students. R. A. Carp University of Houston

Table of Contents

Series Forewordp. ix
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. xix
1 Introductionp. 1
What the Second Amendment Saysp. 6
Outline of the Bookp. 9
References and Further Readingp. 12
2 Originsp. 13
The British Heritagep. 13
The Colonial Experiencep. 15
The Constitutionp. 20
The Federalist-Antifederalist Debatep. 23
The Bill of Rightsp. 24
The Decline of the Old Militia Systemp. 28
Supreme Court Rulingsp. 32
Other Court Rulingsp. 38
The Textbook Viewp. 42
Conclusionp. 42
References and Further Readingp. 43
3 Twentieth-Century Issuesp. 49
Alternate Viewsp. 51
The "Right of Revolution,"p. 59
Spreading Arguments in the Mediap. 62
Seeking Shelter under the Fourteenth Amendmentp. 64
The Second Amendment and Politicsp. 71
Rights Talkp. 81
Conclusionp. 84
References and Further Readingp. 85
4 The Twenty-first Centuryp. 89
The Brady Law, the Assault Weapons Ban, and Beyondp. 90
The New Militia Movementp. 102
Recent Court Actionsp. 110
Escalating Second Amendment Rhetoricp. 115
Conclusionp. 126
References and Further Readingp. 127
5 Key People, Cases, and Eventsp. 131
6 Documentsp. 155
The Calling Forth Act of 1792p. 156
The Uniform Militia Act of 1792p. 159
United States v. Cruikshank (1876)p. 165
Presser v. Illinois (1886)p. 189
United States v. Miller (1939)p. 200
Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove (1982)p. 206
State Right-to-Bear-Arms Provisionsp. 218
Major Party Platforms on Gun Controlp. 227
Chronologyp. 235
Table of Casesp. 243
Annotated Bibliographyp. 247
Indexp. 257
About the Authorp. 263