Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: Origins and Development of the Second Amendment

If you want to understand how the United States came to have the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, David Hardy's book may be the best place to go.

I have read numerous books and articles about the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Some have been short, others hundreds of pages.  But I had not read David T. Hardy's slim book.

This is surprising, because the book was originally published in 1986! But, I was in Panama in 1986.  The Internet was just starting to form. At that time in its early development, I had an account on the MILNET, one of the early precursors of the Internet, but it was limited to official email. Somehow, I missed Hardy's book.

The work is a masterpiece of concisely explaining the origin of the Second Amendment from a thousand years ago up to the present. It is must reading for any Second Amendment supporter.  It shows the development of the right through English law.  Joyce Lee Malcolm does as well in her works, but she covers the topic in considerably greater detail. Hardy supplies the information in short, easily digested bites. 

I learned things that I knew, but had lost the sources for, such as the Virginia law that required colonists to bring their arms to church; an English court ruling that guns could not be seized on the pretext of hunting regulation, because guns were useful for self-defense, in 1752; that an English historian thought that French peasants were enfeebled because, unlike the English, they were forbidden arms. This, in 1476!

The first edition is still available on Amazon for $36.81, and used copies are available for a few dollars worth of shipping. The Second Amendment Foundation has the hardcover first edition available for $15.00, a very good deal.

The Second Amendment Foundation has had the second edition printed in paperback.  It was handed out at the 2015 Gun Rights Policy Conference. The second edition includes sections on the D.C. v Heller case and on McDonald v. Chicago.   Both cases did not exist when the first edition was written.

The slender volume now has 111 pages, 16 more pages than  the original 95.

If you wish the Second Edition, it is now available on as well.  At only $15, it is well worth the price. If you attend a Gun Rights Policy Conference, you may be able to pick one up for free.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

As far as I am concerned all the second amendment needs to say is, " the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". it does not take 95 pages or 111 pages or ten thousand pages to say it any differently. Nothing can be said that creates a different meaning than what those few words declare.

John Dough said...

The book is not so much about WHAT the amendment says as it is about HOW it came to be.

Frank in Spokane said...

Anon: "As far as I'm concerned (harrumph harrumph harrumph)."

So you see no value in understanding the historical background of the RKBA?

Sad. Just sad.

JaimeInTexas said...

If there was no 2nd amendment, the Constitution still did not grant the FedGov any power/authority to ban individuals from owning and bearing arms.

JaimeInTexas said...

Without a 2nd amendment the FedGov still has no power/authority to ban the ownership and the bearing of arms by individuals.

Anonymous said...

There is a very good book from the NRA. It is the SECOND AMENDMENT PRIMER. VERY informative about all the Forefathers debates and so on. Covers the SECOND very well. I hope they still have it it has been a few years since I looked.