31 T. M. Cooley L. Rev. 15 (2014)
A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment

handle is hein.journals/tmclr31 and id is 33 raw text is: A LIBERAL'S CASE FOR THE SECOND
AMENDMENT
CRAIG R. WHITNEY*
ABSTRACT
Gun violence takes about 30,000 lives a year in the United States,
two thirds of them suicides. Does the Second Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution, protecting the right to keep and bear arms, rule out
gun-control measures aimed at improving public safety? History
shows that it was originally designed to reassure Americans who
feared that the new federal government could become tyrannical if it
maintained a standing army. It was intended to guarantee that the
volunteer militias of the states could continue to be a deterrent to
such federal tyranny. The common-law individual right to have and
use firearms had always been regulated by states and localities in
colonial days, and their gun controls continued after independence,
even in the Wild West.
Federal gun regulations came only much later. They were
generally accepted until recent decades, when powerful lobbies like
the National Rifle Association (NRA) started fighting almost all
attempts to balance gun rights with public safety, denouncing them
as stealth efforts to deprive all Americans of a fundamental
constitutional right. A series of mass shootings then led to a federal
ban on semi-automatic assault rifles that expired in 2004.
Proposals to renew the ban and pass new federal controls emerged
after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,
Connecticut at the end of 2012, but all of them failed to overcome
opposition in the Senate the following April.
. Craig R. Whitney, A.B., magna cum laude, Harvard College (1965). The author is
a Vietnam War Navy veteran and a retired foreign correspondent and editor of The
New York Times who worked in Vietnam, Germany, the Soviet Union, France,
Britain, New York, and Washington, D.C. over a 44-year career. His books include
The WMD Mirage, a collection of documents about the mistaken intelligence on
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that led the United States to go to war there,
and Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment, both published
by PublicAffairs. This Article arose from a symposium held at the Thomas M.
Cooley Law School in October, 2013. Mr. Whitney wishes to thank Stephen
Madej, the Symposium Editor of the Law Review, and its staff for their diligent
editing help, particularly Kathryn Frontier, Editor-in-Chief; Stephanie Strycharz,
Articles Editor, and Jacqueline Langwith, Solicitation Editor.

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