The incredible history of the 2nd Amendment and America’s gun violence problem | Jill Lepore
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The incredible history of the 2nd Amendment and America’s gun violence problem | Jill Lepore

October 19, 2019

One of the more interesting theories about
the nature of gun violence in the United States and the quite high homicide rate in the United
States, both of which distinguish the United States from other similar nations, has to
do with at what moment in time the United States became independent and why the Second
Amendment ends up in the Bill of Rights, which is written by Madison. In the theory it is that most states, that
is nation states, pursued a historical course that led to the state having a monopoly on
violence before the state became fully democratized, that is to say the government essentially
seizes the weapons and declares that people can’t be kind of holding their own weapons
for the sake of wielding kind of satellite forms of armed power against the state and
then societies become democratized. So if you think about the United Kingdom like
you could think about it in those terms. That doesn’t happen in that sequence in the
United States, the United States becomes democratized much earlier. From early in the 17th century British mainland
colonies and island colonies as well elect their own local representatives to their colonial
legislatures, they pass their own laws. There is a spirit of independence in colonial
governments that you don’t see in county governments in England say at the same time historically. And among the important elements of that spirit
for many people by the 1760s is the idea that in so distant set of colonies from a ruling
imperial government, what is dangerous is when people’s ability to express themselves
politically is interfered with by a standing army. So the great bugbear of 18th century mainland
colonists is the standing army, especially in the north. The south doesn’t have as much of a problem
with a standing army and Britain’s Island colonies in the Caribbean don’t have a problem
with the standing armies. A standing army is an army kept by the king
in times of peace and quartered among the people or near the people. And Britain’s Caribbean colonies what they
really, really want is a standing army because that’s a bunch of English colonists who are
vastly outnumbered by their enslaved African workforce and they want to be defended by
the British army so they’re forever indeed asking for a standing army to be in the islands
to defend slave plantation owners against their own slaves who were constantly rebelling. And that is to some degree the same case in
the southern colonies in the mainland. In the north in particular, particularly in
New England, the idea of a standing army is the worst form of political tyranny and this
assumes a new political prominence after 1768 when. In 1765 the Britain Parliament passed a Stamp
Act, which effects all the British colonies, but the place that really rebels is New England. They don’t want to pay these stamp taxes. And a series of protest lead to the repeal
of the Stamp Act, which is then replaced with the Declaratory Act, in which the Parliament
says yeah we’ll repeal the Stamp Act because you really complained, but we declare that
we have the right to tax you. And then there’s a new tax on tea and the
Townsend Act in 1767 and the colonists continue to be rebellious, in Boston in particular. And the king sends two regimens of the British
army to Boston to occupy the city. They get off their ships; they march up the
Longworth; they occupy the city for years. And they’re much despised and it’s conflict
between the people of Boston and the occupying army that leads to the Boston Massacre in
1770. And the rhetoric in patriot newspapers tends
to emphasize the importance then of the people’s right to bear their own arms as a potential
insurrection against the tyranny of a standing army. So of course the American Revolution breaks
out in 1775, when that occupying British army in Boston marches to the countryside, marches
to Lexington and Concord to seize the arsenals kept by colonial men who have kept arms and
ammunition in powder houses in Concord and Lexington and it’s their defense of their
supply of arms that is the spark to the Revolutionary War. So there’s a mythos in New England in particular
about the importance of bearing arms against a tyrannical power that is your own government. So a lot of that finds expression in the founding
documents in the insistence on a right to revolution. Like we’re declaring our independence and
we’re erecting a new government, but if this government ever fails to serve the people
they can topple it and erect another government. This right to revolution is instantiated in
the founding documents. And when the constitution is sent to the states
for ratification in 1787 anti-federalists, among the things that they complain about,
is that there is no Bill of Rights and a lot of people like Alexander Hamilton say well
there shouldn’t be a Bill of Rights because this isn’t a monarchy. In a monarchy the king has all the power and
so the Bill of Rights, the list of rights and the Bill of Rights or the Declaration
of Rights in England’s a list of powers that the king is willing to say you people still
have these rights, but we’ve just formed a government that is constituted by the people
so we already have all the rights. If we make a list we’re actually enumerating
rights and therefore limiting the number of rights that we have. So there’s a big debate, actually one of the
most heated debates of ratification concerns whether there should or should not be a Bill
of Rights in the first place, that it is both unnecessary and dangerous as Hamilton would
say. Madison comes to believe Madison had not thought
it was necessary to have a Bill of Rights; Jefferson thought it was. People have big arguments about this and finally
Madison says you know what, it’s pretty clear the thing is not going to get ratified without
a Bill of Rights so Madison agrees to draft a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights goes through many different
drafts. It is severely edited in committee and by
Congress. There’s a much longer initial list. Each of the ratifying conventions sends in
a list of what they want to have be rights. Eventually Madison narrows it down to 12 and
Congress reduces that to ten, of which the second is, as eventually ratified, the Second
Amendment that we have now that concerns the rights of the people to bear arms. But the language of the Second Amendment is
really important because it’s been much parsed over a well regulated militia being necessary,
I don’t even know, the people’s right to bear arms shall not be infringed, there are these
two clauses. And a lot of the tension and interpreting
the Second Amendment comes from which clause dictates the meaning of the sentence itself. So all this prefatory by way of one way to
understand that right is as a right of the people to not be overwhelmed by a standing
army, that if the government decides to have an army kept in peacetime to implement federal
policy the people should be able to have arms so that they could resist that if that were
the only recourse left. If everything else fell apart politically
and the only recourse left was to wage a military insurrection against your own government That is the insurrectionary interpretation
of the Second Amendment, which I would say on the whole political historians do not find
persuasive nor do legal historians. That was the interpretation of the Second
Amendment that was much cherished by the militia movement in the 1990s. If you remember Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma
City bombing was a big advocate of the insurrectionary interpretation of the Second Amendment. All those guys in the Michigan Militia this
was the way that they cherished and understood the Second Amendment that it gave them the
right to bear arms, to form militias to defend themselves against an over powerful and armed
federal government. There’s not a lot of historical evidence to
support that particular interpretation, but there are a couple of things that are important
to note about the subsequent history that is after the ratification of the Bill of Rights. One is that certainly between the ratification
in 1791 and the first major Supreme Court case concerning the Second Amendment in 1939
people regulate gun ownership all over the country, states, municipalities. Firearms are a very dangerous piece of property,
especially cities, but many states regulate their ownership and use in a variety of ways
from the very beginning. It’s the thing in a lot of Western towns that
you have to check your weapons with the sheriff’s office when you enter a city. There are just signs posted as if the way
you would have to register at a hotel when you come to town or show your passport at
a hotel in order to register, you have to check your gun at the sheriff’s office. There are all kinds of local legislation against
concealed weapons caring, especially, again, in the West, also in cities in the East. There’s a quite extraordinary amount of specific
local and state legislation that regulates gun ownership or the use of firearms, especially
concealed weapons. None of which interferes with people’s ability
to say hunt on your own property, this has to do largely with density population. These things are not struck down as unconstitutional. For one thing the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply
to the states until the 20th century. The Bill of Rights only says what the federal
government can and cannot do until the Bill of Rights is incorporated amendment by amendment,
and that doesn’t even begin until the late 19th century. So the Bill of Rights wouldn’t restrict states
from passing what we would call gun control laws or gun safety regulations would be a
better way to talk about them. There’s just no constitutional debate and
no one brings it to the fore. In the 1930s the federal government for the
first time passes legislation instituting gun safety measures with the Federal Firearms
Act and the National Firearms Act, which are I think 1934 and 1938. And they’re because of the rise of the machine
gun. Think of like the Al Capone like guys with
the machine gun in the violin case kind of shooting people on the street, there is a
lot of pressure on the federal government to consolidate state laws, which have prohibited
fully automatic weapons and required licenses for handguns or required gun safety instruction
or required that guns cannot be concealed and carried into an urban environment or whatever
the various state measures are. So most of those things are kind of consolidated
and formed this new wave of federal legislation. And when those two federal laws aren’t in
fact challenged on Second Amendment grounds, because of course the Second Amendment does
obtain to federal legislation, the case goes to the Supreme Court in 1939 in U.S. v Miller,
which decides unanimously that those laws are perfectly constitutional, the Supreme
Court is declaring that the Second Amendment does not protect the rights of an individual
to carry firearms, what the Supreme Court says in this unanimous ruling in 1939 is the
Second Amendment protects the right of people to form militias or to participate in the
common defense. It really doesn’t have anything to do with,
for instance, hunting. It’s like historian Gary Wills once said,
“One does not bear arms to shoot a rabbit.” Like bearing arms it evokes a military use
for the common defense. Not for insurrection against your own government,
as well as among the people would say is not a thing that any government rationally would
put in its on founding documents, but to participate in defense of the country against a common
enemy. So surprisingly uncontroversial throughout
the 1930s; there’s a tremendous amount of popular support for these restrictions. And they’re not understood to impede people’s
ability to own guns or to hunt or to go do target practice or the many things that sportsman
in particular want to do. And those pieces of legislation in the 1930s
are supported by the National Rifle Association, which had been founded in 1871 as a sportsmen’s
organization at a time when rifle shooting, target shooting become a pretty avid past
time in the United States. And the NRA is supporting gun use instruction
and target shooting competitions and sportsmen’s guides and supports the National and Federal
Firearms Acts in the 1930s. So much of this changes in the 1960s when
Lee Harvey Oswald shoots John F. Kennedy with a gun that he ordered from American Rifleman,
which is the NRA’s magazine. Nevertheless of the gun control act of 1968
passes with the NRA’s support. But in the 1970s the NRA leadership is subject
to a coup by people who want to use the Second Amendment in a new way and to use the rights
discourse of the rights revolutions of the civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights
movement to energize a new political constituency, conservative white men, and to give them a
political battle to fight for as a constitutional right that is threatened by a liberal Supreme
Court. And it’s a big part of our polarization in
the last 40 years of the United States has actually been around arousing the sense of
fear that gun rights, which are some now fundamental right for an individual to bear arms as interpreted
by the NRA, comes to fuel a huge decades-long spasm of polarization in what, from any historical
standard, is a quite controversial and novel interpretation of the amendment.

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  1. How is it that if killers will find guns anyway and guns exist in every country, mass shootings are common place only in one in the West?

    I mean either guns aren't that common so they are difficult to obtain and therefore gun violence is also so rare, or gun violence is part of the American way, part of the culture. And do not come to say it is because mental illness, no it is not, the research shows that only 1% of murderers actually are mentally ill (source: American Psychiatric Association and many other studies, institutions and mental health professionals), and they also exist in every country even more than guns do, and yet the results aren't replicated anywhere else. So pick your poison on these meta-narratives America, one of them is necessarily bullshit.

  2. >BT uploads video on Crispr or space
    Comments: Hmm yes very informative and insightful. Say, have you read Jean-Louis Pretin's take in his treatise on..
    >BT uploads video on gun violence

  3. 15 minutes of pure wordplay

    Read the amendment. Consider the context that it was ratified (right after they fought a war against what they considered a tyrannical government)

  4. The Second Amendment keeps the United States from being another Hong Kong, and Jill might want to not smoke a shit-ton of weed right before doing a video.

  5. Stick to physics videos, at least then I don't realize how utter trash your "expert" is. This is the only Nation in which actual free speech still exists, the idea the 2nd amendment isn't integral to regulatory creep in that regard is obtuse. This lady appears to have gotten her knowledge of 19th century gun control history from the movie Tombstone. By the by, that was not at all common in the West and proved to be wildely unsuccessful (ever hear of the O.K. Corral?!).

  6. It was never meant to be a check to the government? Oh? Well let's ask the founders and those of the times:

    "If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair."
    – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28

    "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…. The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun."
    – Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778

    "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops."
    – Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787

    "For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion."
    – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25, December 21, 1787

  7. Out of curiosity, do any of you nattering nabobs ever bother to look up the authors in Big Think’s videos? Judging by your comments, I don’t think so. I love all of you guys who think you are smarter, better informed, and more persuasive than Dr. Lepore, a professor who literally teaches a class in debating American History. But by all means, please continue your dazzling display.

  8. This video title should be change. None of what it was said in this video, explains why violent has any thing remotely connected to guns. But yes it was good informative history of the second amendment. Regardless the violent is a side effect of our society failure in certain sections and not about owning guns. >_>

  9. Careful!!, THE WHITE MALE RHETORIC, One more time!!


  10. who decided to publish this ponderous, extemporaneous, rambling, unplanned half-baked talk?
    It's no "big think"

  11. Only conservative white men? Wow what a great group, they appear to be the only ones defending our constitutional rights, according to this expert.
    She's OBJECTIVELY WRONG when she says it's a controversial or novel interpretation though. The other drafts of the 2A she mentioned are absolutely clear on that. For the founding fathers, saying the people meant the people, not just a select group.

  12. Interview Kris Ann Hall. She'll fill you in on the history, the dates, and the documents the constitution borrowed from and the reasons why.

  13. Her delivery is a bit dry, but the substance is quite interesting. Why were all of my highschool history classes such shit?

  14. No matter what you say, ALL gun laws are illegal and unconstitutional. NO pistol will stop a body-armor-wearing "bad guy", or a tyrannical government. To stop an armored enemy requires high powered rifles/. The 2A is ALL ABOUT self defense from people AND tyrannical Government agents. If you cannot read between the lines, the 2A is a licence for CITIZENS to KILL really bad people, including politicians that violate our Constitution, our rights to be armed with guns AND RIFLES. Limiting ammo capacity, sizes of guns and calibers, etc, are all ILLEGAL LAWS. Requiring permits to "conceal carry" and "open carry" are ILLEGAL laws. Undue delays in red tape on Background checks, is also an infringement. I do support reasonable background checks, INCLUDING SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS. However, mental health BG checks are unreasonable because they are UNRELIABLE and subjective to the political bias of the person effecting the BG check. That will NEVER work out fairly! My post content is currently grounds to not issue me a permit based on the truth and accuracy of my content, which is FULLY lawful under the Constitution. Some reading this would say I pose a threat or I am unstable, but I stated simple truthful facts. See what I mean? Oh, btw, We ONLY have mass shootings after hate speech from the left. I was a Liberal 45 years and I had to #WalkAway from the hate and lies and division. There is no longer a true Democrat party. It has been hijacked by a bunch of wicked FREAKS!

  15. I believe we have to keep murderous psychopaths and violent criminals from guns. But, if you’re a law abiding, tax paying, voting, and participating citizen with no criminal record why should you be restricted? They don’t let any body fly airplanes you have to get a medical certificate first that says you are physically and mentally healthy enough for the responsibility. Then they allow you to train as a pilot. Why not the same system for gun ownership. Every three years require a visit to check on physical and mental health then issue a license! I’m Ok with that. Just like renewing a drivers license or keeping a pilot certificate current, or keeping my concealed carry permit current. But please don’t remove my freedom to own because you choose not to, and furthermore don’t recognize the value. Her argument seemed circular and confusing. I wish the channel would have used its platform in a more moderate and educational to both of the sides kind of a way! I wanted desperately to be inspired to think by Big think visiting this topic. Please try again we NEED some well thought out solutions and some good conversations with an intelligent and realistic basis. If the GVNMNT tries to remove assault weapons I am afraid they will force an insurrection unnecessarily. Let’s approach this wisely.

  16. She completely ignores, and even says there is no precedent for the people to rise up against the government. Perhaps she should read up on the Battle of Athens in 1946.

  17. Reading this article gave me better sense of why gun use is as prevalent as it is in the U.S.

  18. Get your thoughts in order then present them. This woman is a professor? Rambling and contradiction make for a bad presentation.

  19. At the beginning she mentions comparable countries to the US. What countries is she referring to? We are by far the most diverse nation in the world. We have a much larger population and land mass compared to most nations. So when someone says "comparable nations" I really don't know what the hell they are talking about.

  20. WRONG!..
    1st court cases to mention it is NOT 1939…. try 1820..

    1820, Dred Scott decision, the opinion of the court stated that if African Americans were considered U.S. citizens, "It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right…to keep and carry arms wherever they went."

    Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886) the court said: "A state cannot prohibit the people therein from keeping and bearing arms to an extent that would deprive the United States of the protection afforded by them as a reserve military force."

    Bliss v. Commonwealth (1822, Ky.)[12] addressed the right to bear arms pursuant to Art. 10, Sec. 23 of the Second Constitution of Kentucky (1799):[13] "That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the state, shall not be questioned."

    Nunn v. Georgia (1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243 (1846)) The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void

    Also, fun fact on US V Miller…
    Neither the defendants nor their legal counsel appeared at the Supreme Court. so ZERO evidence was presented…

    And lets not forget most EVERY state…

    State Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms Provisions

    private citizens owned war ships equipped with cannons and this was the case even during the civil war and the war of 1812

    A well schooled electorate, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.

    who has a right to the books?

  21. There's a good reason the Insurrection theory is "not compelling". In the body of the Constitution itself, the framers clearly stated that armed insurrection against the government is an act of treason, and they gave the President the power to use the militias to put down armed insurrections. That negates any possibility of 2A giving anyone the legal right to violently resist the government. It's not only a "not compelling" theory, it's logically impossible without ignoring the body of the document.

  22. Calling it gun violence implies that if we had no guns the violence would disappear. What gun grabbers and other idiots fail to understand is passing laws against anything will NEVER stop criminals from breaking those laws. They talk about illegal firearms in the same sentence as passing legislation against law abiding citizen owning firearms. If that happens the only people with guns will be the criminals. They just go and get guns illegally that’s why they’re called criminals. It’s like Heston said, “From my cold dead hands!” If you don’t like, fear, or just don’t understand firearms please do your homework there are people who will be more that happy to teach and help you

  23. Isn't it funny how you can just look at the shape of someone's glasses and can predict their stance on gun control? Ha

  24. This is a perfect example of the problem with the subject of firearms. She wants to pretend to be an expert but her delivery and ill preparedness shows that she is not close to being an expert on the 2nd Amendment or on firearms at all. Her revisionary history is a complete failure.

  25. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,…" The first part is always ignored in favor of the second part.

  26. Content is ok, but her speaking style is annoying. It appears she's trying to sound natural, thinking as she speaks, but it ends up feeling like she's dismissing the importance and/or validity of every sentence. To listen to that speaking style in a lecture hall two or three times a week would be… potentially excruciating. 😨 I only made it to 4:06 of this video. Sorry to be so harsh, but… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  27. Is this lady on mushrooms or something? She cant make a clear point at all..Im better off asking a squirrel for it's nuts, At least I know the answer is more clear than this drivel.

  28. Why would I ever take advice on firearms from that woman. She looks like she's never even seen one in a magazine. Right to bear arms shall not be infringed. How difficult is that to comprehend? We should be better armed to resist tyranny.

  29. ?She's rather abridging Max Weber's famous definition of a state, as distiinct from a territory. That is, the state has a monopoly on the LEGITIMATE use of force (she uses the word "violence").

    Her claim that there's a right to revolution in our republican theory is not only wrong but wrong iny any theory of the Social Compact.

    But many of her arguments are presented in a murky way, as in the use of the word "violence" referred to above.

    There is a right to dissolve the govt by the people. But that is different from saying there is a right to revolution.

    John Locke, for example, who, of course greatly influenced the Founders, made clear that once the People form a new govt, no individuals in that govt have the right to rebel against it.

    That's just common sense. If the People formed the govt, then by definition they have the collective right to dissolve it and, in Jefferson's words, to form a new govt that will best secure their safety and happiness.

    Leopore passes over the meaning of "the People" and seems to imply that it refers to persons. But nowhere in all our Founding documents and up to our present day does "the People" refer to persons.

    Scalia even mistakenly quotes the opinion in Verdugo-Urquidez as if it supported his view of the people as individuals. It emphatically does not.

    That Court made it clear that "the People" referred to in all the Amdts is the same as in the Tenth Amdt. Yet we know that "the People" in the Tenth cannot possibly mean persons, since persons never have power. Even Scalia conceded that.

    In any case, the famous We the People incipit of the Constitution, which has become a virtual slogan of all democracies, further immortalized in Lincoln's celebrated epistrophe ("of the people, by the people, for the people") clearly does not refer to individuals. Individuals simply do not form governments except as majorities.

    In the same way, individuals do not try a person on a criminal charge. They must first become sworn in as "the People vs. John Doe").

    Even today we use "the People" in the same way. Thus we say that the People elected Donald Trump president, though more persons voted for Clinton.

    In any case, despite the Heller Court's hocus pocus, the first clause cannot be reduced to a merely prefatory clause (it remains an operative clause), nor can the second clause contradict the first clause without violating the law against self contradiction. An Amdt cannot say contrary things, both protecting ONE militia in the first clause and many militias in the second clause. It's an absurdity only possible on the other side of the looking glass, to borrow a conceit from the Heller majority.

    Moreover, Lepore blurs the distinction between the Federal Govt, which was the real adversary of the Bill of Rights, and the State governments. Nowhere is there evidenced a concern about stat tyranny in the ratification debates.

    Lepore also ignored the first major case on the Second Amdt, which was not Miller (1939), but Cruikshank (1876), which specifically concluded that the Amdt does not apply to the States. This opinion is esp. important since it came AFTER the 14th Amdt, which many courts claim "incorporated" the Bill of Rights.

    Indeed, if this was the case, McDonald v Chicago (2010) could not have pretended to "incorporate" an Amdt that had already been incorporated by the 14th Amdt! But Americans lost interest in their democratic governance a long time ago. They seem to prefer to have a mere rotation of the Court to decide what the Constitution means. They even boast about it, as when Trump became president ("Now we'll get an guns right court!")

    "For one thing, the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to the States until the 20th century"! How is that possible when courts AFTER the 14th Amdt explicitly said that the Bill of Rights was NOT incorporated to the States. I refer to Paul v Virginia (1869, ONE YEAR AFTER), Slaughterhouse (1873), Cruikshank (1876, specifically addressing the first two Amdts, concluding, "'shall not be infringed means no more than shall not be infringed BY CONGRESS"), Dunne v Illinois 1879

    “The States retain . . . authority over the militia they previously had and exercised. THE CITIZEN IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER ANY LAW, STATE OR FEDERAL, TO DEMAND AS A MATTER OF RIGHT THAT ARMS SHALL BE PLACED IN HIS HANDS.”

    This is followed by Presser (1886), confirming Cruikshank, Miller v TX 1894, Twining 1908 (“the 14th Amendment did NOT FORBID THE STATES TO ABRIDGE THE PERSONAL RIGHTS enumerated in the first eight Amendments"), Kerner v State 1921, Adamson 1947, State v Stanne 1976 (the Second Amendment is “a limitation only upon the power of Congress”), and
    Sandidge v U.S.1987 (the Second Amendment merely prohibited “Congress from enacting legislation that will interfere with that right”

    Thus, DESPITE judicial CONSENSUS, and by his own criterion of “original meaning,” Justice Scalia absurdly found (my emphasis) “a STRONG PRESUMPTION that THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT IS EXERCISED INDIVIDUALLY and belongs to all Americans”! You can't get any more contrarian that this.

    So are we a judicial republic, ruled by 9 (but usually only 5) unelected lawyers, or a Constitutional republic ruled by the People in their majority capacity. Lex majoris partis?

    Otherwise, how can Lepore say that "the Bill of Rights is incorporated amendment by amendment" beginning "in the late 19th century"? How can a Court change the Bill of Rights or any part of our Constitution? But Americans lost the spirit of 1776 a long time ago when they decided to have courts make their laws instead of their own majorities.

    Gary Willis may have said "One does not bear arms to shoot a rabbit," but the quote essentially paraphrases a famous remark in Aymette v Tennessee (1840), that one could hunt for a lifetime and one would still not be said to bear arms.

    The modern interpretation of the Second Amdt is not merely novel and controversial: it's flat out wrong.

  30. America does not have a gun violence problem, it has a mental health and social division problem partly perpetuated by the lies in the media.

  31. Social Alienation that Capitalism provokes doesn't come into play as a reason why Americans kill other Americans? Really!?

  32. Flip flopper lady. Her opinion is clear: "guns are a very dangerous piece of property". Governments would think that.

  33. Lol as always the comment section is full of scholars and experts that are far more educated than a Harvard professor.

  34. Instead of owning guns, let people rent them at shooting ranges, so they can still go out and have their fun shooting targets.

  35. I'm not from USA, and everyone I know are jealous of American citizens' right to have gun for self protection. It is a great thing to know you at least have the means to protect your family if something dangerous will happen. In other countries all people can do is to helplessly wait till police comes and saves them. And it is usually too late.

  36. I predicted a low rating for this video regardless of what the message was. No matter what someone says about a topic that people tend to be divided with among party lines, roughly half of viewers won't like hearing a different perspective.

  37. I am tired of 2 famous letters by Jefferson being corrupted by gun rights people. I refer to the Tree of Liberty and Dangerous liberty letters that gun rights people use to pretend that Jefferson was really one of them, a crazed insurrectionist. Actually, as with all of these quotes co-opted by the gun rights people, he says the opposite of what they claim he's saying.

    He's concerned about the gossip that American democracy cannot work, due to the Shays rebellion, which, by the way, was the direct cause of convening the Convention for a stronger federal government. That's also what motivated the Federalist Papers. So the claim that any of those papers or paragraphs thereof, could be defending a private right to arms, when it was precisely privately held arms that allowed the rebellion to begin with comes close to absurdity. In short, a Federalist argues to weaken the federal government!

    Thus Jefferson writes to William Smith while Jefferson was in Paris as an Ambassador,

    "Wonderful is the effect of impudent & persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them … & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves.

    "Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted?"

    Now this is where gun rights and insurrectionist apologist usually stop reading:

    "I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty."

    For anyone whose brain has not been addled by gun rights rhetoric, Jefferson is merely playing the tolerant and benevolent parent of a troublesome adolescent. The child is "ignorant," not really wicked. The child cannot always be well informed, thus "wrong" about important "facts," that they "misconceive."

    Children need to rebel once in a while, or they will lose the spirit of resistance. The good teacher smiles when the student contests him: "No, teacher. I think Brahms was a greater composer than Beethoven."

    The student is totally wrong; but he knows it's better than a student who just memorizes everything the tacher says without questioning or challenging it.

    Now Jefferson puts the best spin on the rebellion that has shocked the world & has challenged the principle that people can govern themselves without a king:

    "We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?"

    Notice. Jefferson applauds the SPIRIT OF RESISTANCE. Not rebellion it iself. a necessary evil.

    Now follow words that are always read to suit gun rights insurrectionist ideology:

    "Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order."

    Notice how gun rights people only cherry pick the phrases "Let them take arms" as if it was an imperative to do so, and the "Tree of Liberty" quote.

    Jefferson was AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE. A public official. He would be guilty of TREASON if he condoned a rebellion against the government he represents.

    Thus "Let them take arms" is meant in a monitory or warning sense: "Go ahead. Let them take arms and find out the consequences."

    Parents use that monitory form of "let" when they tire of the child pretending to leave home: "Let her leave! She'll find out how hard it is to live outside."

    What follows makes Jefferson's rhetoric clear:

    "The remedy is to set them to FACTS [which they MISCONSTRUE], PARDON THEM [which proves Jefferson thought they were in the WRONG], and PACIFY [like WILD BEASTS?].

    Notice, that the "tree of liberty" phrase CANNOT POSSIBLY REFER to the rebels but to THE PATRIOTS who oppose the rebels, who thereby represent "liberty."

    Notice the PATRICIAN contempt Jefferson has for the rebels: "What signifies a few lives lost." He calls them "tyrants" compared to the "patriots" who defend the established law. Surely, Jefferson, Ambassador to France, would not call himself a tyrant, nor the other Founding Fathers.

    Notice too, Jefferson refers to a few lives lost "in a century or two." Contrary to another myth about "dangerous liberty," Jefferson did NOT imagine perpetuate insurrection, but only a few in two centuries. No rational statesman supports a social compact expecting insurrection as a routine part of the compact, except on the other side of the looking glass where Alice meets Humpty Dumpty.

    Insurrections, and the suppression of them by true patriots, is the natural growth of the tree of liberty:

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order."

    Notice the explicit linking of "our Convention" (i.e. to ratify the federal Constitution) and fears over the insurrectionists that the old Articles of Confederation did not have the centralized power to deal with.

    Once again, the entire federalist convention, and all the Federalist Papers, were written with the Shays rebellion in mind. To argue, paradoxically, that those texts would then incoherently endorse a private right to arms, when it was precisely private access to arms that made the insurrection possible in the first place, comes close to lunacy, as well as illiteracy.

    As an antifederalist, Jefferson probably did disapprove of too strong a federal government used as a "kite" in order "to keep the hen-yard in order." But that merely reflects his views against federalism, not in support of insurrectionists, as this letter makes clear.

  38. This is so obviously biased towards anti-gun and immediately shuts down the conversation it’s trying to spark. If you want to have a real conversation on gun rights, gun control, and the 2nd amendment then you need both sides of thought.

    There are key driving factors behind the gun control mentioned such as the NFA that are conveniently absent. Then, as now, the NFA was passed to limit access to guns in the guise of public safety yet machine guns were only being used by criminals. Machine guns were so expensive that an ordinary person couldn’t afford to buy one. Additional items like suppressors were added to the NFA for no reason whatsoever, yet they’re considered an over the counter accessory in highly gun controlled England. This is the very foundation of what upsets pro-gun Americans as you’re taking away the rights of law abiding citizens due to acts of criminals. The criminals are already criminals. Passing more laws does nothing to the criminal. Passing more laws limits the rights of the law abiding citizen. The perception of safety is a lie.

    For example England now has a major knife violence problem, but semi-auto guns are banned. The problem wasn’t guns to begin with, just as it isn’t knives. The problem is the people that commit the crimes. Whether the underlying cause is mental illness, abusive childhood, or someone disassociated from society, it doesn’t matter. You will always have a violence problem as long as there are people who don’t value the lives of others and respect human life.

  39. So with what will the "militia" arm itself unless each able bodied person has his/her own personal "arms"? There were enough writings from the Founders to indicate that the 2A individual right was the intent. Google second amendment and founding fathers.

  40. I think she basically says the whole reason the right to bear arms is in the Constitution is because Britain was the government at the time and the writers were fully aware that without guns the revolution would have went nowhere. Hence the need to put the right to bear arms in the Constitution. Just because we now we have an elected federal republic and King George is gone does not mean that we don't need guns to throw the government out if need be. Think current Hong Kong. Who do you think is going to come out on top over there? The people? They don't have guns. All hail emporer for life Xi.

  41. The entire country is to stupid to see that the problem is the 2nd amendment and that's why mass shootings will never stop

  42. One of the most comical aspects of people who quote those famous arms proposals by Sam Adams, Jefferson, and the Pennsylvania Dissent, is, they ALL LOST.

    The Heller Cout made the same mistake. That majority quoted those proposals as if they proved the people in the Founding Era wanted arms.

    But common sense shows that since they were all rejected, the opposite is true. THE MAJORITY DID NOT WANT PRIVATE ARMS IN THE HANDS OF CITIZENS, at least not CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED arms.

    In addition, if there’s any doubt that the Bill of Rights applied only to the Federal Government, this is the REJECTED arms proposal of Sam Adams, clearly referring to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT in terms exactly like our Bill of Rights.

    Apart from the words, “Congress” and “Federal legislature,” another key phrase is, “to raise standing armies.” Clearly INDIVIDUALS CANNOT RAISE STANDING ARMIES! Not even states can raise standing armies!

    I have CAPITALIZED key words:

    "And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize CONGRESS, to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or TO RAISE STANDING ARMIES, unless when necessary for the defence of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning in a peaceable and orderly manner, THE FEDERAL LEGISLATURE, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches & seizures of their persons, papers, or possession."

    Nonetheless, this proposal was rejected by the Massachusetts ratifying convention on February 6, with the following words,

    “The Hon. Mr. Adams introduced some amendments, to be added to those reported by the committee; but, they NOT MEETING THE APPROBATION of those gentlemen whose minds they were intended to ease, after they were DEBATED A CONSIDERABLE TIME, the honorable gentleman WITHDREW THEM.”

    Yet five unelected lawyers on the Supreme Cout cannot tell the difference between a proposal that the majority accepted and one that the majority rejected.

    How can the Supreme Court quote the LOSERS as if they were the WINNERS? Where's the logic?

  43. At 4:25 it appears like she is trying to hold back a yawn. She seems board with the subject and just put her mouth on autopilot.

  44. How come every time you hear one of these people talking about the 2nd Amendment they always talk about oh we use gun regulations all the time as though that somehow justifies the regulation. We disobey the 2nd Amendment therefore it's fine. Just like the First Amendment says you shall make no law on religion or free speech but you can't say fire in a crowded theater. them breaking the law does not make the amendment null and void

  45. She clearly has a biased view in interpreting the 2nd amendment. Just listen how she completely skips to the first major gun regulation of the National firearms act as though them violating the second amendment justifies itself and completely glossing over other rulings protecting the second amendment as an individual right. Making unconstitutional laws is not a justification for making unconstitutional laws.

  46. Does anyone notice how she can't even say the full Amendment. Which would completely negate her point. 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.

  47. Looks like someone didn't fully do there homework. David Barton is an expert on this you should consult with him before making these false statements and narrative you're trying to drive. What part of the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed did you miss? That was long before the NRA.

  48. Throughout it there were times when I wanted to thumbs up and then she completely contradicts what she says earlier. The whole point IS so that you can stand up and reform the government if needed. The Supreme Court changing the wording of the founding fathers doesn't change what the document says and to see where current politicians are trying to push it (all while saying this isn't infringing on the 2nd amendment) shows just how much we are going to need it.
    "The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." -Thomas Jefferson
    I'll take his interpretation over theirs.

  49. There are literally books that support the fact that the second amendment is for protection against a tyrannical government start with the federalists papers jill

  50. Why over-complicate matters? The gun violence problem is far simpler. It is a direct result of the massive adoption of the US state religion you call "The American Dream".

    It is a poisonous mind-set that promotes poverty as opportunity and equates posessions as freedom.A mass shooting is the purest form of this American Dream. Any nobody with his gun can become somebody overnight.

    This nightmarish delusion that is shared by a bi-partisan majority has fuck all to do with the history of the 2nd amendment.

  51. No entity should have a monopoly on lethal force. Modern tyrants require modern arms. Im sorry life is extremely dangerous, its been this way our entire existence and no piece of paper will ever change that.

  52. She's rambling on and on. Let's cut through the shit. 2nd amendment exists to secure the ability of the people to overthrow the government when it becomes necessary.

  53. You think that the 2nd Amendment is a dangerous freedom for the individual to have??? I rather have my dangerous freedom Jill Lepore, than be a submissive slave, like you, to the whims of corrupt politicians and tyrants!

  54. What you're saying is that we weren't subjects, the other countries have subjects. There is a difference between subjects and citizens.

  55. She literally presents an argument that supports the idea that the 2nd amendment is an individual right and that its intent was for the defense of the people against a tyrannical government and pulls back on that idea to establish that it isn't an individual right but the right to form a militia instead and that the interpretation of defense against a tyrannical government has no standing…its amazing how she tries walk this back but she does. I like her attempt to be objective though but it starts falling apart toward the end of the video.

  56. Government is Force…plain and simple regardless of the political system…

    If you sell Raw Milk…they send a SWAT team
    If you don't pay your taxes..they send a SWAT team..
    Every single Alphabetical Give Agency has a Police Force…

    The 2md was meant to keep the Gov at Bay….it's work to some point…we will see who wins…

    And we still ended with a Standing Army….

  57. I'd mumble and ramble and avoid looking into the camera, too, if I had sensed that my argument is weak at best.
    Uneven, Slouching shoulders, limp wrist stuttering single hand gestures, talking points vaguely linked together in place of a real thought process….slavery, evil white people, colonies, evil men. A far left zealot, not a free thinking woman.

  58. This woman has no clue of actual history. She expects to convince people to believe her interpretation which is primarily fantasy, her fantasy of what a faithful Comrade wishes were true.
    The fact is our 2nd Amendment arose as in order to defend the Nation against tyranny for which is more likely today that ever in the past. To date is has done a wonderful job; at this point we are still here and still free; although there are so many that want to subvert our Constitution, it's an uphill battle. If you ever wonder why they want our guns so badly, its not because the like them, most are ignorant and would likely shoot themselves. The answer lies basically in their cowardliness, knowing the difficulty of taking over a country if those are shooting back at you, which of course we would be doing with expert marksmanship..
    Were it not for our 2nd Amendment, our Government would already be usurped by Liberals, Elites and Globalist. This inalienable right shall not be infringed as misinformed Jill Lepore is suggesting.

  59. The Battle of Athens, Tennessee: As Recently As 1946, American Citizens Were Forced To Take Up Arms As A Last Resort
    Against Corrupt Government Officials.

  60. If you think lee harvey oswald shot pres kennedy…you should do a lil bit of reasearch on that there are some things that just dont line up with the whole storie on how kennedy was shot…like the bullet …the bullet doesnt line up….literaily doesnt line up…laws of physics proves that with out a dought…look how ever you wanna chopp up this whole damn argument …just know this ..if they try to take our guns…blood wiill run on every street in AMERICA…and it will be sad…but neccesary…if you are a person who has never had there rights violated, it harder for you to understand..butt all the people that have been violated..fully understand what i mean..because they have seen it…there already so close to a milatry state …like if you get stoped by a cop in your car…WHERES YOUR ID ..I NEED TO SEE SOME ID…WHERES YOUR CAR REGRSTRY..WHERES YOUR INS PAPERS…knowbodys gives anybody else rights…i have all my rights…i may have a foot on me trying to push me down…i just push back harder than they do….there playing with fire on this one …and need to see it …

  61. Lol.

    Ok, aside from all the correspondence and debate minutes that prove many founders considered the right to bear arms was to protect against tyranny, and all the historians who disagree with her interpretation that she apparently doesn't consider historians because they disagree with her.


    I guess they forgot.

    Her example of guns "always being regulated" is irrational and moot. The point of the federal constitution is to restrict the powers of the FEDERAL government. Does anyone know what a federation is? Aside from star trek? Or has public school brainwashed that definition? City gun regulations is in the same exact spirit of federalism that made America great. You have your community with the rules you like, and I have my community with the rules I like. You could still own a gun, you could buy it private party, you didn't have to register it in most places, it was none of the government's damn business.

    If you think leaving a city if you don't like their laws is the same as leaving a country if you don't like their laws, basically you're retarded, and you've never tried to expatriate. You don't just get to not be a citizen of the U.S. if you beg and bribe they might let you go. I'm serious, look up the process for expatriation.
    "Please master, can I leave and be a free man?"
    You're a slave.

    I'm sure most other people are more familiar than she is with the breakdown of homicides vs. murders that show American total murder rate isn't that high, much less firearm murder rate.

    And the highest rates of violent crime in the United States (as well as some of the highest gun crime) are in regions with more gun regulations.

    America hasn't been a free country for over 100 years, and sorry republicans, it mostly started with Lincolns nationalization of the government.

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