UP IN ARMS OVER THE SECOND AMENDMENT: The Meaning of the Second Amendment

Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Does the Second Amendment to the Constitution confer an individual right to bear arms or not? Why is there so much disagreement about the meaning of this Amendment? What does the historical evidence tell us about the intentions of the framers of the Constitution in writing this amendment? To what extent does our interpretation of the Second Amendment effect efforts at gun control today?

Recorded on Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. I'm Peter Robinson. Our show today, Gun: Guns and the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Now when the founding fathers wrote those words, this was a typical weapon. A musket was unwieldy, difficult to load, so inaccurate that it was seldom used, even for hunting, and expensive. A gun like this, and the gunpowder to use it would set a farmer back an entire years income.

What would the founding fathers have made of one of these? Easy to use, deadly, relatively inexpensive and, thanks to mass production, plentiful. Indeed, there are now so many guns in the United States, the FBI estimates there is a gun available for every man, woman, and child. Did the founding fathers intend to given individuals the right to bear arms, even arms like this? Or did they intend, instead, only to give states the right to organize militias? The modern equivalent would be the National Guard. In other words, what does the Second Amendment mean? With us today, two guests, Jack Rakove is a professor of history at Stanford University. He specializes in constitutional history. Eugene Volokh is a professor of law at UCLA. He specializes in constitutional law.

Title: To Bear or Not to Bear

Peter Robinson: The journalist Daniel Lazare writing in Harper's Magazine, I quote: "The truth about the Second Amendment is something that liberals cannot bare to admit. The right wing is right. The amendment does confer an individual right to bear arms." An individual right to bear arms. Jack, yes or no.

Jack Rakove: No.

Eugene Volokh: Most definitely.

Peter Robinson: Most definitely! Nice clean disagreement. That's made for television. Now lets go.

Twenty-even words. "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Why do we have so much trouble with the meaning of the Second Amendment? And I'm now asking almost a historical legal question. Did the founders simply not discuss it that much, or is the nature of the debates and notes and correspondence on that especially thin, Jack.

Jack Rakove: The founders did not discuss it that much. The debates are thin. Most of the debates that take place on the Second Amendment were concerned with the question whether or no you could compel religiously scrupulous people, that's to say Quakers, to bear arms. And so the--the question that most concerns us today, which is to who does the right belong? It is--it is a right that belongs to a group called the militia? Who is in the militia? Is it--is it a right that belongs to all individuals, or to some broad subset of individuals? These are questions that in fact the--the debates of the late 1780's did not directly reach. And so, therefore, there's--there's lots of room for speculating.

Peter Robinson: They left us inadequate pointers on that one.

Eugene Volokh: Actually, the amendment itself tells us exactly who the right belongs to. It says the right of the people. That's one thing that's clear. It's the right of the people. It doesn't say the right of the states. It doesn't say the right of the militia. Now it's true there is very little debate during the late 1780's and early 1790's on the amendment itself. But we have a wealth of information from the 1760's on through the early 1800's, throughout the rest of the 1800's, where it was uncontroversial, that this was an individual right, as much a right of the people as the Fourth Amendment, which is also is a right of the people to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures, as much as the First Amendment right of the people to petition for addressing grievances. So it is an individual right. Everybody agreed to that.

Peter Robinson: The plain language is such that the founders, the reason we don't have long debates on the meaning of the Second Amendment is that the founders were able to take it for granted. And what they took for granted that it did indeed confer an individual right, the right of the people, to bear arms.

Eugene Volokh: The historical record of the era is quite clear. From Blackstone, the great English journalist writing about the--the clear ancestor of the American right, the--the English right to have arms, which you talked about as the right of the subject of a person, to St. George Tucker, the earliest commentator on Blackstone in American who analogized that…

Eugene Volokh: …I'm sorry 1803. That Justice Storey who's the leading constitutional commentator in America of the early--of the first half of the 19th Century who talks about as the right of the citizens to--to, Justice Cooley who's the leading commentator…

Peter Robinson: Can you give me a date?

Eugene Volokh: I'm sorry in the 1860's to 1880's he was writing leading commentator on American constitutional law of the late 1800's who--who makes clear that it's the right of every individual and not just some select government appointed body.

Peter Robinson: Okay, so your point then is dating back to English history right through the middle of the 19th Century in our own country, it is understood as conferring a right on an individual to bear arms…

Peter Robinson: …which was; as a historical matter, why is that mistaken?

Jack Rakove: Well, for one thing, William Blackstone wasn't at the Constitutional Convention. So the question of how authoritative his views are for what the framers were thinking in Philadelphia, or for that matter more properly, in New York in 1789, is open to question. Sadly, if you look at the text in the English Declaration of Rights…

Peter Robinson: the English Decal…sorry…

Jack Rakove: Declaration of Rights of 1689, which is the text on which Blackstone is commenting, it's fairly obvious that, you know, that the right is to be exercised subject to law and under any theory of parliamentary supremacy, which is the dominant English legal theory of a period, it's fairly clear that--that parliament could restrict on ownership and--as--as it wished, simply as a ma--simply in the order of exercise of it's legislative authority. There's another set of concerns which Eugene hasn't eluded to, which is that, and if you read the Second Amendment literature which I--I regard as a kind of twilight zone of contemporary scholarship because…

Peter Robinson: Why, why is it a twilight zone? Because it's so unclear?

Jack Rakove: Because a--because a lot of claims tend to be gr--asserted with a kind of definitive quality which, when you go to the sources, it seems to me as--as often ab--is often absent or missing. But the very broad claims were rest on what turned out to be a fairly thin and somewhat problematic evidentiary foundation. But, there is--there is one main line of argument in the--in--in the discussions of the Second Amendment and it has to do wi--with how to figure out how do we think about the militia whose presence in the, in the first--first member of--of the Second Amendment, the--the ped--of preambular clause, also has to be taken as a key to it's meeting.

Peter Robinson: Let's explore this question of the militia and the Second Amendment.

Title: Writing the First Draft

Peter Robinson: "A well-regulated militia, (comma) being necessary to the security of a free state, (comma)" and then we go on to the right of the people.

Jack Rakove: So--so, does the word militia give us some kind of guide to understanding what do we mean by the people? How big or how small is--is the concept of the people embracing there? Then we have to refer back to the main body of the constitution. The main body of the constitution makes clear, the--the Article 1, Section 8, makes clear that--that the militia is an institution whose membership henceforth is going to be defined by government. And it cannot--it cannot simply and critically or automatically be equated with the whole body of the people.

Peter Robinson: The militia then, comes first and it is the right of the people to bear arms so as to support and to man the militia.

Peter Robinson: And the militia in turn is go--is regulated by state law.

Jack Rakove: State and national law.

Peter Robinson: State and national law. So you get the need for militia under the laws of the State and the Federal Government and the right of the individual to bear arms is--it sort of trickles down, that is subject to and really utilitarian, the end is well-regulated militia, it's merely a means…

Jack Rakove: Right.

Peter Robinson: …given the reg…, okay.

Eugene Volokh: Yeah, well, it's important to realize what the militia meant at the time. It did not mean what some people today think it means, which is the National Guard, a small group of people selected by the government.

Peter Robinson: Give us a good definition of what the founders understood by militia…

Eugene Volokh: I can give you--I can give you the definition of militia active 1972 that included all free white males, obviously, conventions of the time, who were citizens from age 17 to 45 which is essentially all free able-bodied white males.

Peter Robinson: Distinguish if you could the difference in their thinking at the time between a militia on the one hand and a standing army on the other. Is that an important distinction?

Eugene Volokh: The militia, yes. The militia was the armed citizenry. The principle behind the--the--the notion of the militia and in--on the notion of the Second Amendment is that government was most secure--or the free government was most secure when the people were armed.

Peter Robinson: I just want to picture just a little bit because it strikes me that Jack makes a point that fits with most peoples understanding of American history, that is to say, the founders the framers were concerned overwhelmingly with limiting the possibilities for the new government to become a tyranny.

Eugene Volokh: Exactly.

Peter Robinson: And the militia--and militia, giving the states the right to organize militias, was it in the thinking of the time a tremendously effective way of doing so, making a necessary standing army, preventing a counterweight to any desire to create a standing army. So it all makes sense. It all fits together.

Eugene Volokh: There are two big problems with the state's rights here.

Peter Robinson: Do I get high grades for putting…?

Eugene Volokh: First of all, it would have been so easy for the framers to say the right of the states to keep and bear arms, or the right of the militia. They didn't. They said the right of the people. Again, right of the people appears in the First Amendment.

Jack Rakove: But they--they--they could as eas--easily have said the right of individuals.

Eugene Volokh: But--but when they said the right of the people; they meant the right of the individuals. Clearly you see that in the Fourth Amendment, we see that in the First Amendment.

Jack Rakove: They didn't say the right of individuals.

Eugene Volokh: No, but--but--but because it was more common for them to talk about individuals as of the people then as an individual. It is a m--individual is a more modern phrase in this respect that the people. As I said, the Fourth Amendment, the First Amendment don't mention individuals, they mention the people, meaning individuals. It's a very normal locution of the time. But the other thing is you have to remember, there were state constitutions just as right now. There are 50 state constitutions, 44 of them today secure an--a right to keep and bear arm, most of them in very clearly individual rights language. There were similar state constitutional provisions at the time. Now this notion, so if the right to bear arms was a state's right in the Federal Constitution, what would it be in a State Constitution? In a State Bill of Rights, remember, that has to declare the rights of individuals against the states. It can't declare the rights of the states against itself. So that's further evidence that the right to bear arms was understood as an individual right. The right in which…

Peter Robinson: Eugene has presented some seems to me at least a compelling argument. Well it's Jack's counter argument.

Title: Firing Line

Peter Robinson: Federal Judge Sam Cummings of Texas, in a decision last April, I quote the Judge: "A historical examination of the right to bear arms," historical examination of the right to bear arms, "from English antecedents to the drafting of the Second Amendment, bears proof," strong words from a Judge, "bears proof that the right to bear arms has consistently been and should still be construed as an individual right." Eugene has made the case. Judge Cummings summed it up.

Jack Rakove: Well the case…

Peter Robinson: Give me a--give me a summary of the case against.

Jack Rakove: The Everson case is up on appeal. And I'm perfectly happy to wait and see what the Fifth Circuit does rather than arguably the Supreme Court beyond that.

Peter Robinson: But if Judge Cummings had said this not from the bench, but in your classroom, how would you have replied?

Jack Rakove: Well, I think I would have applied in the same way I reply to Eugene, that--that--that we're making claims about a corpus of hi--of historical evidence which it seems to me is much more equivocal that Eugene is conceding, that, in fact, the debates of the late 1780's were not focused on the question that most agitates us today, they were focused much more on the question of the militia. And--and--and the issue of whether either the national government or the states would be empowered and, if so, to what extent to--to confiscate or regulate or disarm the population never came up in the way in which we formulate it today. Because of that, we have to be very careful about how we go about reconstructing the body of assumptions under which they were acting and the level of their concerns.

I mean, the most important objection I think I would make to this argument, and it--it is--and it is state's rights kind of argument, would run something like this. If you--if you pose the question in the 1780's that--that--that guns would become much more lethal, much more effective, much more devastating than they, than--than they were today. We know from a lot of sources that in fact firearms of the 18th Century were very unwieldy weapons, they were very hard to use for purposes of self-defense. They're very hard to load. They're very hard to aim accurately. They're very hard to discharge. They're very hard to maintain. If you wanted to kill somebody, if you wanted to kill your family, God forbid, or if you wanted to protect your family, you--you would use a knife or a hatchet or an ax. If you--if you had to fire a firearm you would be in a bad way. So in the 18th Century they had no way of conceptualizing firearms as the public health problem that they have become today.

If they could have conceptualized it in that way, that is to say, if they would have recognized firearms 70 or 80 years later would become lethal in a way that they really were not in the late 18th Century, and if you then asked the question, would states have the capacity under the general unders--prevailing understanding of the police power, the authority to legislate broadly in the in the interest of the public health and welfare, would states retain the authority to regulate the use of firearms in--in the discharge of their traditional obligations to maintain the internal police, then I think under--under both the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment, both the framers of, both the framers of the Second Amendment, federalists and anti-federalists alike, the--the two parties on different sides of the constitution, would--would have argued that the states retain and essential authority to regulate firearms use in the interest of public health.

Peter Robinson: I want to be very clear on one point. Are you arguing…?

Peter Robinson: Now wait a minute, Jack seems to be changing his argument, what does he really think?

Title: Shell Games

Peter Robinson: Are you arguing that original intent on this issue is unclear, or are you arguing that it was indeed clear scanty thought the evidence may be, it was indeed clear, and they knowingly conferred the right only on the states to form militias? I just want to be clear on that point.

Jack Rakove: I want to make both arguments. I, you know, I want to argue on the one had that--that the evidence at least is much more equivocal than Eugene's reading of it would take.

Peter Robinson: Okay, we grant that.

Jack Rakove: And that--and that in fact most the evidence…

Jack Rakove: …most the evidence has to do with thinking about the militia and--and the nub of the dispute between people like myself and people like Eugene in many ways comes down to asking the question, how do you define the militia, who is the militia? Does it embrace the whole people or is the militia and institution subject to state and national regulation?

Peter Robinson: How did they understand militia at the time?

Eugene Volokh: The armed, adult, while male, of course today, or excuse me the armed adult able-bodied citizenry.

Jack Rakove: But we're--we're not talking about 1623, we're talking about 1789.

Eugene Volokh: Militia Act of 1792.

Peter Robinson: Well, I just want to get this on the table because this is one of those pieces of evidence that Eugene is talking about. Plymouth Colony 1623 quote: "Every free man or other--Every free man of other inhabitant of this colony must provide for himself and each under him able to bear arms a sufficient musket or other serviceable piece for war." Everybody. So that notion seems to be in the air.

Jack Rakove: I think--the dispute--look, the idea that the whole--that the whole male population is in fact subject to militia service is not something I want to dispute. But the question is, what is, you know, that is to say in theory of course, I mean, you know, in 18th Century America as in modern Israel or Switzerland, the whole able-bodies, the whole male able--able-bodied population is subject to militia service. But that doesn't mean that either--that either Congress or the states is thereby prohibited from defining the militia in other somewhat more restrictive terms.

Eugene Volokh: So--so the theory is this right, supposedly this right of the people, but the State or the Federal Government can just define it away by just saying, "Oh the militia is just, this very, very few people." All of a sudden, this right vanishes. It's right up there in the constitution, in the bill of rights, and it vanishes because its somehow alone is the right that the government can define away.

Peter Robinson: Eugene, there's a new book--there's a new book, Jack has made this point, there's a new book that's getting a lot of press. It's called Arming America by a guy called Michael Bellesiles. He spent a decade examining probate records, very careful meticulous historical work, and he comes up with a conclusion, I quote him now: "It would appear that at no time prior to 1850 did more than a tenth of the people own guns." Does that affect your argument? Isn't that suggestive that the militia actually was restricted to a small group of people.

Eugene Volokh: No it doesn't, it doesn't. First of all it's an interesting theory. I'd like to see some further data on this. Remember, it's contradicted by the fact the Militia Act seemed to contemplate everybody having a legal duty to--to…

Eugene Volokh: Fair enough. But there--but there's some criticisms of it. And also, it really does run but against a lot of conventional wisdoms of a lot of his--historians. So this is an interesting historical debate far from settled.

Peter Robinson: But one way or the other, it doesn't affect your argument.

Eugene Volokh: Exactly. Because look, what fraction of the population owned presses? Very, very small. But people still had the individual right to liberty of the press. I'll give you another example. It turns out that around the time of the framing, very few people took advance to the right to counsel. Most of the criminal defendants went un-counseled or represented themselves. But of course we still have an individual right to counsel.

Peter Robinson: Let's move from theory to practice. How does the interpretation of the Second Amendment affect the regulation of firearms today?

Title: Locked Stock of Barrels?

Peter Robinson: The FBI estimates that we now have 240 million guns in existence, almost one gun per person. I am assuming that under your interpretation of the Second Amendment, we're quite free constitutionally to regulate the use of those guns in almost a restrictive a manner, through congress, through the states legislatures see fit. No--no constitutional problem. Could we even, I'm not saying that you advocate this as a matter of policy; I'm trying to test the boundaries of your constitutional position. Would it be all right for, let's say an urban area where the people are especially nervous about, could Rudy Juliani, in your judgment, constitutionally confiscate all the guns on the island of Manhattan say?

Jack Rakove: I don't think I'd want to go that far. I mean, I--I think I'm prepared to concede that probably as--as a matter of ownership, that it--it's, you know, that we have the right to own lots of--lots of different kinds of property.

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Jack Rakove: So whether or not--whether or not full scale confiscation in terms of kind of the worst case scenario of the NRA is constitutionally feasible or not, I don't have a position on that. I think I would be skeptical.

Peter Robinson: Controlling…

Jack Rakove: But it--but--but it seems to me all...

Jack Rakove: …almost any matter of regulation short of outright confiscation, it seems to me would be constitutionally and legally permissible under any prevailing understanding of the police power to the states, whether an 18th Century conception or an early 21st conception.

Peter Robinson: Okay, so in your view then, the Second Amendment to the Constitution poses no impediment whatsoever to coming to grips with a gun problem, if you view it as a problem, by way of regulation, gun con--no problem, no impediment. Eugene, let me ask you. I'm assuming that your position is different. Let me take a--a weakish case. As a matter of law now, the Brady Bill.

Eugene Volokh: Um hum.

Peter Robinson: It's passed by Congress, signed by the President. It has a number of provisions but one of the provisions is that it mandates backgrounds, federal law mandating background searches on people who wish to buy certain kinds of guns. Constitutional under your reading?

Eugene Volokh: I--I think it would be, because individual rights, like the right to freedom of speech are not unlimited, they're not absolute. So I believe there is an individual right, but I believe that certain kinds of restrictions that don't eviscerate that right are permissible.

So just as, for example, the government may require permits for parades, just as the government may ban liable in certain kinds of things, certain kinds of things…

[talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Zoning laws don't officiate the right to own private property.

Eugene Volokh: Yeah, so--so I do think that--that certain kinds of modest restriction on guns would be permissible.

Eugene Volokh: Jack does say that a total ban would be contradictory to the Second Amendment, and I think that's got to be the answer. Look, you can't have a right to keep and bear arms under any definition and the government say, "Oh, we'll take away all your arms." I'm not sure quite why Jack is willing to make this concession given that his view seems to be that the right doesn't belong to individuals at all. Why can't the government confiscate everything? But--but, I would say that certain kinds of restrictions are permissible, but there are--there are limits. At a certain point, the restriction becomes so burdensome that it becomes an undue burden and unconstitutional. On of the….

Peter Robinson: What do our guests make of the argument that any real reform of gun laws requires a change in the Constitution itself.

Title: Taking Aim at Gun Control

Peter Robinson: The journalist Daniel Lazare, once again, I quote him: "There is simply no solution," Daniel Lazare is very concerned about the gun problem but grants this effectively Eugene's argument about the Second Amendment. So he concludes, "There is simply no solution to the gun problem within the confines of the U.S. Constitution." He's wrong about that. And Eugene even says he wrong about that right?

Eugene Volokh: Well, it depends what you mean by the gun problem. There are, I think, a lot of laws, such as bans on felons in possess--felons possessing firearms and such that are constitutional. I actually also studies the criminology of guns.

Peter Robinson: What about waiting periods? What about waiting periods?

Eugene Volokh: I think waiting periods would probably be constitutional. I don't…

Peter Robinson: Background checks?

Eugene Volokh: Background checks, yes constitutional. But I think the important thing to realize is…

Peter Robinson: What about bans on handguns?

Jack Rakove: Safety locks?

Eugene Volokh: Pardon? Yes, safety locks…

Peter Robinson: That's an--that's an absolutely live issue. That's the issues on gun control right now.

Eugene Volokh: It's an interesting question. It's a touch question because safety locks to materially interfere with people's ability to defend themselves.

Peter Robinson: Okay, now hang on. Here's what's happening as--as I read the gun control debate. One of the things that's happening is folks are saying, look, technology may be the solution here. We have a great problem actually limiting the number of guns, but if we mandate a lock on a gun such that it reads the fingerprint of the guns owner, then if it falls into the hands of a child or a criminal, so the question is, if that technology should become possible, would it be constitutional? Could we mandate it?

Eugene Volokh: If the technology worked perfectly, yeh, I think it would be constitutional.

Peter Robinson: He's actually saying as a matter of practice, he sounds quite reasonable, don't you think?

Jack Rakove: Right, I--I'm just as happy with his concessions as he is with mine.

Peter Robinson: Okay. So--so really your debate with Eugene is limited to the historical journals and the law journals. As a matter of fact…

Jack Rakove: It--it--it is a major part of the…

Jack Rakove: …of the Second Amendment issue that--that we have a set of impressions about what the--what the--what the Second Amendment originally meant. I think, other scholars like me think that the NRA and--and--and people who, not just the NRA, but scholars have taken this line have actually not dealt fairly or in a balanced way with the evidence, that they've overstated claims which are easy to question.

It's als--it's also the case that the constitution at the moment, at the state of jurisprudence, as I understand at the moment, going back to the Miller case, does not create serious legal barriors to the effect of regulation of firearms.

Eugene Volokh: Yeah, the Supreme Court has never held specifically whether it is individual right or not. There has been dictum in recent cases going by…

Peter Robinson: Do you think they will--this--this case we just quoted is headed to the Supreme Court presumably?

Eugene Volokh: It's an interesting question. If the 5th Circuit, if the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals says there is an individual right, it would put it in disagreement with other Court of Appeals and I should say the lower courts have all held so far except a district court there's no individual right. So--so if there's this disagreement, that will be a strong signal--signal to the Supreme Court that should take this case and resolve it.

Peter Robinson: Well, it's television, so we have to close it out. We have political pressures for gun control in some regions of the country, notably the northeast, pacific coast here. On the one hand we have political pressures for gun control, for some way of grappling with this huge number of guns in the country. On the other hand, we have a standard or majority interpretation, at least according to Judge Cummings, that the First Amendment very clearly confers an individual right to bear arms. My question is, how is the country likely to grapple with this tension?

Jack Rakove: It seems there--there are two big variables that are very hard to answer. One as Eugene just noted, there is, or as you noted as well, there--there's wide variance within different regions. So--so the politics of gun control will play out in different ways in--in different parts of the country. And calling attention to the diversity in state Bills of Rights provisions is another way of illustrating the complexities of federals. The other thing I am less certain about is whether, is--is--is how far this case is going to go as to whether or not the Supreme Court…

Jack Rakove: …the Emerson case, right, as to whether or not whatever happens at the 5th Circuit the court is going to want to take in on, whether it will see this as the right…

Peter Robinson: By the way, could you just sketch out what was the factual issues in that…?

Jack Rakove: Eugene--Eugene should correct me on this, but as I understand it, it involves a doctor who was under a, in a divorce case, was under a restraining order not to approach his wife who appears, who appears with a firearm and--and

Peter Robinson: The doctor appeared with a firearm.

Jack Rakove: Yeah, and--and--and threatens the boyfriend or something and his defense is the Second Amendment or something like that.

Eugene Volokh: No, no, the doctor was subject to boilerplate order which was imposed apparently in all sorts of cases based in no findings of threat. Baring him from threatening or harassing his spouse. It was a standard order, doesn't require any findings. There is a little know federal statues which says the moment such an order is entered against you, whether or not there's any finding of threat, you may no long process any guns. And what's more, the doctor was ultimately prosecuted, not for making any threat, but simply processing those guns without any finding of danger, any finding other than it's a divorce and the judge enters this very standard, kind of almost no brainer…

Peter Robinson: So it's an extremely clean constitutional issue. Is that federal statute constitutional or not?

Eugene Volokh: Yeah, I do think it's quite clean. And I do think that the Supreme Court is likely to take the case just because the Supreme Court, whenever there is a disagreement between circuits, especially involving a federal statute being struck down, actually that is--those are two big signals for the…

Peter Robinson: Take a guess, the court has, the Supreme Court is currently constituted decides that case how? They uphold Judge Cummings?

Eugene Volokh: You know, I never make predictions, especially about the future, Sam Golden once said. And I'll add, especially about the future in the Supreme Court.

Peter Robinson: Eugene and Jack, thank you very much.

Eugene Volokh: Very much a pleasure.

Peter Robinson: An interesting finding. Although our guests are far apart in principle, they could hardly have disagreed more profoundly about the original intent of the Second Amendment. They both believe that, in practice, the government does have the right to regulate to a considerable extent our use of guns. I'm Peter Robinson. Thanks for joining us.

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