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The Founders' Second Amendment

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by Stephen P. Halbrook

The first book-length account of the origins of this key element of the Bill of Rights, based on the Founders' own statements as revealed in newspapers, correspondence, debates, and resolutions.

The Founders' Second Amendment

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Do Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms? Or is this power vested solely in government? Recent years have seen a sea change in scholarship on the Second Amendment. Beginning in the 1960s, a view emerged that individuals had a “right” to bear arms only in militia service—a limited, "collective" right. But in the late 1980s Dr. Stephen Halbrook and a handful of other scholars began producing an altogether persuasive analysis that changed thinking on the matter, so that today, even in canonical textbooks, bearing arms is acknowledged as an individual right. (2008, 448pp, hb)