23 February 2008

Historian Finds Fault With Other Historians' Amicus Brief Supporting DC Gun Ban

The History News Network has published an article by David Young, which is severly critical of the amicus brief filed before the U.S. Supreme Court by 15 professional academic historians in support of Washington D.C.'s handgun ban in the Heller case.

Young is editor of The Origin of The Second Amendment, a source document collection cited extensively by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in its Emerson decision, and also by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in its Parker decision.

He writes: "In virtually every following comment, the historians treat the Second Amendment as entirely related to militia matters under complete state government control. Since when did the Federalists become champions of state powers over the militia?. . ."

". . . The more relevant historical information, completely ignored by the professional historians in their amicus brief, indicates that the Second Amendment became part of the Constitution, not in relation to any specific concern about militia powers as the historians persistently and mistakenly claim, but rather as part of a complete Bill of Rights taken from the pre-existing state bills of rights . . ."

". . . It's not that the amicus historians fail to mention numerous historical facts. The problem is they often miss the significance of such facts in their rush to separate the Second Amendment from its actual private-rights-protecting nature. The professional academic historians' always-slanted interpretations are far from helpful for a clear understanding of a subject that they have helped make much more complex . . ."

" . . . It becomes evident at the very beginning of the historians' brief that their personally-held views are directly contradicted by the actual views of the two Founders, Mason and Madison, who were most closely associated with the development of the provisions within the U.S. Bill of Rights . . ."

Enough said. Read the full essay here, to see how the brief mentioned (and linked above) is not the best work by Saul Cornell and Company. Nicely done, Mr. Young. A very thoughtful and well written analysis.

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