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Gun Rights in America

June 2024
1min read

Some of the most important essays on gun rights, gun culture, and the meaning of the Second Amendment have appeared in American Heritage over the last 50 years.

gun culture

Editor's Note: Over the last half century, American Heritage has published important writing on guns in American society and the right to own firearms. Here are some of the essays.

America as a Gun Culture, by Richard Hofstadter | October 1970

It's the only industrial nation in which the possession of rifles, shotguns, and handguns is lawfully prevalent among large numbers of its population.

What Does the Second Amendment Really Mean?, by Joseph J. Ellis, September/October 2019

To know what the Framers intended, we need to understand the late-18th century historical context. 

A History of Gun Rights in America, by Patrick J. Charles, September/October 2019

After ten years of research into the history of gun rights, it’s clear that most Americans' understanding of the “right to bear arms” is not consistent with historical facts.

Gun Control: Areas for Compromise? by Robert A. Levy | September/October 2019

One of the best-known advocates for gun rights outlines where he thinks compromise is possible.

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms, by Adam WinklerEdwin S. Grosvenor | September/October 2019

The Supreme Court left the door open for reasonable regulations of guns if Congress has the will to act.

Editors Note: We asked Prof. Adam Winkler, a nationally recognized expert on Constitutional law and the history of gun control, to give us his thoughts on how we can steer a middle ground between the right to bear arms and strict gun control.

What the Supreme Court Actually Said: Opinions in DC vs. Heller, by Antonin ScaliaJohn Paul StevensStephen Breyer | September/October 2019

Here are the original opinion and dissents in the famous Supreme Court case that defined the modern version of the "right to bear arms" 

“God Guns & Guts Made America Free”, by John G. Mitchell | February/March 1978

The National Rifle Association and the Right to Bear Arms

Repeating History: America as a Gun Culture, by The Editors | August 1972

As this issue goes to press, Governor George Wallace of Alabama lies gravely wounded by bullets fired from the handgun of a would-be assassin while he was campaigning for president in Maryland.


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