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

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.


  1. How can the insurrection theory not be the primary theory?! The speaker just finished saying, not 5 minutes before, that the attempt by the British army to take the colonists’ defensive arms that were being held in Lexington and Concord was what sparked the revolution! The Founders had just lived that very thing! To say that that was not what they had in mind when they went on to enumerate the Bill of Rights doesn’t make any sense!

  2. This person doesn't know anything about the Second Amendment. It's an individual right. What the fuck would a collective right even be? Like, you only have free speech if a large group of people are present?

    Dislike, move on.

  3. So which is it? At the beginning of the video she says the Founders specifically included a clause allowing for armed revolution if the government was no longer found to be acceptable, then at about @13:15 she makes a comment that no government would include something in their documents that allowed the people to have arms to revolt. WTF?

  4. 5:30 says the people have right to topple the gov…. end of video says people don't have that right and that it's to only help gov. against other countries…??? 🤔 she seems to be for and against the first interpretation that she presented how strange.

  5. The federalist didnt want a standing military, they just wanted armed civilians to form militias , so the government cant oppress its citizens like Britain and the redcoats did. It wasnt meant for citizens just to have guns for the hell of it. Gun owners was expected to report and register with the state militia.

  6. "we citizens just used weapons of war to overthrow our tyrannical government" is the ONLY reason the second amendment was written. its quite funny to blame everything on the nra about individual gun rights that have been around for 100 years BEFORE the nra's inception.

  7. You completely skipped over the span of time between colonists' concerns on the government preventing the people from defending themselves from tyrannical government by removing their ability to obtain/bear arms and the colonists' thinking that it was for protection from foreign powers only.

    Instead of addressing this, all that I heard was "no scholar seriously considers this". You can't honestly say that. There are plenty of scholars that seriously contest that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, as a necessity for the security of a free state, is at least in part as a means of rebelling against a tyrannical government.

    At least make your case for this instead of the cop out answer "no scholarly takes that seriously". This is an absurd statement, that nobody you would hope to convince will take seriously.

  8. US v. Miller stated that there was no reasonable use for the weapons listed because they served no martial purpose (i.e. the military didn't use them), because of that there is no use case in witch they would be needed to be used in the formation of a militia.
    "The Court cannot take judicial notice that a shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches long has today any reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, and therefore cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees to the citizen the right to keep and bear such a weapon."

  9. Minute 9:08. HAHAHAHAHA there's not enough historical evidence to support the insurrectionist theory? The founding fathers just fought an insurrectionist war!

  10. It's funny she mentions early gun regulations as these were primarily applied to minorities to make linching safer. It's one of the reasons MLK was such a prolific guns rights advocates for minorities.

  11. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." DOI I guess the FFs were not rational then according to her, because the DOI IS THE FOUNDING DOCUMENT!!

  12. blaming a gun for violence is the same as blaming a fork or spoon for diabetes, it is how a person uses things.

  13. She doesn't seem to know the definition of liberal either. Though in the country or nation it was founded on, that today is not unusual.

    Liberal Lib"er*al (l[i^]b"[~e]r*al), a. [F. lib['e]ral, L.
    liberalis, from liber free; perh. akin to libet, lubet, it
    pleases, E. lief. Cf. {Deliver}.]
    1. Free by birth; hence, befitting a freeman or gentleman;

    refined; noble; independent; free; not servile or mean;
    Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

    Liberty Lib"er*ty (l[i^]b"[~e]r*t[y^]), n.; pl. {Liberties}
    (-t[i^]z). [OE. liberte, F. libert['e], fr. L. libertas, fr.
    liber free. See {Liberal}.]
    1. The state of a free person; exemption from subjection to
    the will of another claiming ownership of the person or
    services; freedom; — opposed to slavery, serfdom,
    bondage, or subjection.

    Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

  14. Just imagine how much better this video would be if the speaker was not clenching her teeth and trying to speak at the same time.
    Seriously does no one vet your speakers before putting them in front of the camera? She is nearly inarticulate.

  15. Spends the first 8+ minutes telling about the history of why the 2nd amendment is in place for protection against the government then states, there is no historical argument for it. Lol

  16. I watch this extremely intently. I learned nil to nothing about the history of the US' gun violence. I feel the content of the video doesn't speak to it's title I was hoping for more.
    P.s. Could you find someone who speaks to us and not the floor.

  17. You could take her word for it, or you could go read the federalist papers, which spell out exactly why we have the second amendment in the words of the people who gave us that amendment. It's in the public domain, and is available as a free audio book through librivox or by searching "federalist papers" here on youtube.

  18. How about you make the videos and I'll use my limited brain power to decide if it's true or not. That was tough to type with one finger in my nose. I've got some good fishing stories that are "true" also. Lol

  19. As I watch the post, addressing the speaker…. initially, Not "the reason" but one reason that sets America apart. You certainly are being careful with your words. Then…. Commercials, ugh. Great history lesson before the actual subject of the post…. (a practised/written speak would be better IMHO). Is she going to say the 2nd Amend. was just then but…… Separate items in the sentence. The other writings of the founding fathers clarifies what it means you lier! It means exactly that we have a right given by our Creator to defend ourselves both against criminals and "the government"! Yes these restrictive laws are struct down all the time! The Supreme Court has upheld this as well. "Shall not be infringed" and everyone agrees that "machine guns" (well defined) should be restricted but the left is trying to apply it to all weapons. She is absolutely WRONG! THEN SHE WALKS THE LINE and contradicts herself about owning weapons. BS served up by a staggering lib who puts a spin on truth. Geez… I'm done. My thoughts, enjoy. Novel! Ha!

  20. The right to bear arms in the 2nd amendment means (as she mentions) the right to form a militia against tyranny, period. King George's tyranny forced the colonists to no longer consent to be governed by him, to form militias, and fight. The NRA was founded only as a sportsman's organization, period. 18th-century language and context must be taken into consideration when interpreting this amendment. The current gun insanity we face in this country has nothing to do with the spirit or meaning of the second amendment.

  21. It seems the founding fathers were more worried about a returning invasion by the British when they wrote the Second Amendment. They were able to foresee many things, but the fact that the USA become the world super power that it became might not have been one of them. I am starting to see the flaws of the argument that the Second Amendment being necessary for an avenue for insurrection.

  22. I think Ms. Lepore overstepped in her interpretation of what the Supreme Court said in Miller (1939). They made no assertion on either side of an invididual's right to own arms. First, the law being appealed stated that shotguns couldn't have barrels less than 18". Second, SCOTUS stated, quite explicitly, that the reason the law was upheld was because there was no reasonable argument that a short-barreled shotgun had neither a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a militia, nor is part of any ordinary military equipment. This was not judged on the basis of an individual right.

    Ironically, of course, the idea that we should outlaw "assault rifles", which is in itself a dubious title, is definitionally assured of having a reasonable relationship to maintaining a militia and is part of a ordinary military equipment.

    It's a shame she played fast and loose with that ruling as it was so central to her point.

  23. Oh, go ahead and scroll down, you know you just came to read the shit show that is the comment section the same as me

  24. Surprised the black panthers in Cali was not mentioned. I feel it was after this event that stricter gun laws came about and then where overturned by the takeover of the nra as you mentioned.

  25. This was very enlightening. I have heard old timers gun enthusiasts talk about the take over of the NRA. They don't buy the current b/s about rights to assault rifles and bumps stocks and large capacity magazines. My daddy taught me to hunt. I never got good at it. But I see these old timer's point.

  26. This lady needed to be more prepared and confident. It was tough watching her stammer and twitch all over the place.

  27. She says the NRA believes that only a firearm is a fundamental right I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court ruled that it is. The way she worded it or the way they edited it made it seem like the NRA's making all the rules.

  28. What a load of revisionist horseshit. She hands waves away the "insurrection interpretation" moments after spending minutes recounted *how the US government was formed directly after an insurrection*, while also completely dismissing out of hand the NUMEROUS writings, letters, and articles written *by the same people who wrote the Constitution and the Amendments in the first place*. Their "interpretations" and intent is not mysterious in the least bit.

    And to ensure she hits all of the requisite leftist canards, she finishes it off by blaming the NRA and "conservative white males", while completely ignoring the historical fact that most of the state and local level gun control laws currently in existence were passed during the Jim Crow era to make sure that the newly freed slaves were disarmed and unable to fight back against discrimination.

    Other comments have dealt with her utter mischaracterization of the referenced SCOTUS ruling and the rest of her numerous fallacies. What a load of bullshit.

  29. More recent SCOTUS case law is very favorable to gun rights and upcoming case's that they have agreed to hear could have broad affects favoring rights advocates.

  30. Many people always say America is crazy because of the 2nd amendment and how Americans are all gun crazy. However, as a non-American, I believe the most twisted thing about the states is their tipping culture.

  31. There is no "gun violence problem", deaths per 100,000 people across the board for firearm related death is 12.2 in 2017 and currently trending lower, and in places like California as low as 9.3, for comparison deaths related to drug overdose are at 21 per 100,000 people, and death to influenza and pneumonia are around 14.4 per 100,000. "Gun Violence" only makes up about 38% of Firearm related fatalities, so this accounts for about ~5.5 people in every 100,000 will die from gun violence. That is 1/3 the problem influenza and pneumonia are, and 1/4 the problem drug overdoses are. And if you really want to get stupid, deaths attributed to "random accidents" account for a whopping 49.4. Nearly TEN TIMES the deaths per 100,000 people as "gun violence".

    This is all publicly available information at the CDC website. There is no "gun violence" problem. What we have is a corrupt News media problem, a scared delusional populous problem, and a wealth inequality problem that is turning the future into a Corporate Feudal System where massive corporations and private interest groups hire private armies and rule like Warlords over their economic interests. We're going to find out all too soon just why the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution and just how vital that decision was. The Government is already in the pocket of these massive economic powers. Deep.

    The real enemy is Wealth Consolidation, not Guns. The Second Amendment will be what keeps Cartels, Private Military, and corrupt officials from turning on the public. As long as it is too expensive to dominate the general public with armed force due to the possible loss of assets, none of these entities will ever try to employ it. Without our Gun rights, everyone is vulnerable. And the cost of 5-9 lives out of every 100,000 is easily justified by the alternative.

    Wake up and use your big kid brains. There is no "Gun Violence" problem. Never was. And the death rate per 100,000 has been constantly trending downward since World War 2. As will it continue to trend lower. All violence is trending down on the charts by every metric. We are safer now than any human has ever been in all of recorded human history. PERIOD. There is no debate.

  32. I’m very disappointed to see this kind of willful ignorance on the part of Big Think.

    I was hoping for an unbiased historical perspective. It seems bias crept in nonetheless, and the only history present was selected and presented so as to affirm the conclusions drawn up by that bias.

    I understand that gun controllers may not see their own inherent bias, and likely deny it to the end. That does not absolve its existence.

  33. Yes, the Bill of Rights was not applied to the states and local governments until The 14th amendment. That's what the 14th Amendment was meant to do. But, after it was passed it was applied to every amendment in The Constitution EXCEPT The 2nd Amendment. Why? And, if I need to join a militia to exercise this right, I will.

  34. 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.

  35. >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

  36. 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)

  37. 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.

  38. 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?!).

  39. 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

  40. 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.

  41. 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. >_>

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


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

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

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

  47. 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!

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

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

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

  52. 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.

  53. 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?

  54. 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.

  55. 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

  56. 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

  57. 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.

  58. "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.

  59. 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)_/¯

  60. No one listen to that sexist, racist hack-job–Jill Lepore. That video was pure underhanded propoganda, edging to get citizens to give up the body of the Second Ammendment this country was founded upon. Go ahead and read the Declaration of Independence and compare that with what this bigoted person just strongly hinted at the end of her video. If you let ((THEM)) take your guns away, you'll never be able to fight back if ((THEY)) decide to cull the population or simply fully open the borders to violent invading groups from other countries who love the idea of destroying America and having their way with your women and children. I am not over-exaggerating. Do your research on the places we call "Third World Countries" and what they think of our classic freedoms and morals. Here's a hint….many of them DON'T like our values or freedom. All power hungry elites need is to take your ability to bear arms away and then you are literally defenseless not only against criminal gangs, but against any dictator's regime or Communist regime that might kill millions of people on a whim.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. ?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.

  64. 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.

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