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The Second Amendment: The Intent and Its Interpretation by the States and the Supreme Court

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ISBN-13: 978-0786442706
ISBN-10: 0786442700
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About the Author

Patrick J. Charles is the recipient of the 2008 Judge John R. Brown Award for Excellence in Writing for his research on the Second Amendment and the "right to bear arms" in state constitutions. He holds a J.D. from the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, works as a historian for the 352nd Air Force Special Operations Group and is a contributor to Encyclopedia Brittanica on the Second Amendment and gun control. He lives in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (January 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786442700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786442706
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,752,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick J. Charles is the author of the articles "The Right of Self-Preservation and Resistance: A True Legal and Historical Understanding of the Anglo-American Right to Arms," 2010 CARDOZO L. R. De Novo. 18(2010), "Arms for Their Defence"?: An Historical, Legal, and Textual Analysis of the English Right to Have Arms and Whether the Second Amendment Should be Incorporated in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 57 CLEV. ST. L. REV. 351 (2009), and the books THE SECOND AMENDMENT: THE INTENT AND ITS INTERPRETATION BY THE STATES AND THE SUPREME COURT (2009); IRRECONCILABLE GRIEVANCES: THE EVENTS THAT SHAPED THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (2008), and WASHINGTON'S DECISION: THE STORY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S DECISION TO REACCEPT BLACK ENLISTMENTS IN THE CONTINENTAL ARMY, DECEMBER 31, 1775 (2006). The recipient of the 2008 Judge John R. Brown Award for his research on the Second Amendment and States' "bear arms" provisions, Patrick received his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. He is currently a legal analyst for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) in Washington, DC.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Historyhnrgrad/law scholar on February 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Since the Heller decision, much literature has come out praising that decision for reestablishing a constitutional right to guns. Charles questions this literature and the judicial objectivity that the Supreme Court majority used in coming to their determination that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns for self defense. He contends, and pretty much proves, that there was little objectivity if any, and that the polarized political stances, collective and individual right models, took over the 5-4 split. Instead, his research provides a merger of the collective and individual right models, pointing out the inconsistancies in both.

What Charles ulimately concludes is that through an exhaustive look at all the colonial laws leading up to the adoption of the Constitution, gun ownership and use was a political question based on the police powers of the state. He is not saying indivdiuals shouldn't be allowed to own guns, but that the Second Amendment, and many of the early state constitutions "bear arms" provisions, were not intended to protect individual gun ownership. In his analysis he debunks the myths such as Halbrooks beliefs that "every man be armed" supports the individual right model, and many of the historical assumptions he makes, among the many other arugments that other individual right theorists have put out there.

I think Charles most compelling argument comes from his look at Shays Rebellion and Ohio's right to bear arms. In Shays Rebellion the Massachusetts government clearly defined what the right to "keep and bear arms" meant, but somehow this has gone unnoticed by individual right supporters.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Along Red River of the North on February 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a great example of how sometimes lawyers or legal scholar, like Patrick Charles, conduct more thorough research and write better history than historians. Charles is an excellent writer with a to-the-point, evidence-based, jargon-free, non-repetitive and non-thesis-driven approach. He examines the historical context (1780s - 1790s) surrounding the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "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."

Unlike the current majority on the U.S. Supreme Court or the National Rifle Association, who "cherry-pick" (i.e., deliberately pick out data or court rulings that support their view, while ignoring the laws or cases studies that oppose their view), Charles thoroughly examines ten essential sets of facts or evidence that anyone interpreting the Second Amendment must grapple with:
1) each state's gun, hunting, crime and militia laws up to 1800
2) the Second Amendment's placement in the Bill of Rights
3) a textual analysis of the phrase "bear arms"
4) a textual analysis of the word "keep"
5) a historical analysis of the phrase "keep and bear arms"
6) the intent of the framers in drafting the Second Amendment
7) the legislative history and intent of the National Militia Act (1792)
8) a history of the founders confiscation of arms (e.g., after Shays' Rebellion, 1786-87)
9) the framers intent behind the word "state"
10) the "bear arms" provision in Ohio's constitution

Charles chides the "individual right theorists," the "collective right theorists" and the Supreme Court majority ruling in D.C. v. Heller (2008) for misconstruing the Second Amendment.
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6 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Steelmac5 on November 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a liberal biased mess with supplications that just don't hold true. The Supreme Court rules in favor of an individuals right to bear Arms and this author just overlooks it and says they interpreted the 2nd Amendment wrong. What this author fails to mention is all the work done in the 19th century by great legal minds such as St. George Tucker who wrote Tucker's American Blackstone, which if you were a lawyer, was required reading. In this Tucker explains exactly the intent of Madison and the founding Fathers that the 2nd Amendment did protect an individuals right to bear Arms. If Tucker was wrong in his interpretation, then I am sure Madison would have said so and not appointed him in 1917. This book is liberal trash and I do not recommend it at all is it doesn't use facts but liberal biased and opinions.
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