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Out of Range: Why the Constitution Can't End the Battle over Guns (Inalienable Rights) 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195304244
ISBN-10: 0195304241
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For Harvard Law professor Tushnet, the long-lived culture war over the Second Amendment is less about the Constitution than "how we understand ourselves as Americans." That said, the lion's share of the book is dedicated to a penetrating textual analysis of the Second Amendment, "the right to bear arms," one of the most vociferously and inconclusively argued aspects of the U.S. Constitution. Both sides are unyielding on their respective viewpoints: gun rights advocates rely on "originalist" Constitutional interpretation, invoking the founders' original intention to provide a means of defense against government oppression; gun control supporters argue from a collective rights perspective, looking at gun ownership like automobile ownership, a privilege for lawmakers to grant, regulate and revoke as needed. Tushnet demonstrates how little water both narratives hold, and notes that even accepting "the best versions" of gun-rights proponents' arguments, the Constitution still allows for "substantial amounts of gun control." On the other hand, Tushnet wearily concludes that gun control measures have had only marginal effect on gun violence. A number of solutions are proposed, such as providing education and jobs to at-risk youth, but Tushnet's greater contribution could be to help end the unproductive semantic debates that have kept the issue hot but its resolution out of reach.
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Review


"Brisk, even-handed, and illuminating discussion...Tushnet has provided a balanced, intelligent, and exceedingly useful guide to the Second Amendment."--The New Republic


"Carefully analyzing text, history, precedent, and ramifications for public policy, Tushnet demonstrates how to wrestle with a difficult question of constitutional interpretation. His lively book will interest everyone who wants to learn how scholars and courts cut through competing claims to decide what the Constitution means."--Carl T. Bogus, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University


"Timely and astute, Out of Range makes us think through the divisive legal arguments about the Second Amendment and face our cultural war over guns."--Joan Burbick, author of Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy


"Brisk, even-handed, and illuminating discussion... Tushnet has provided a balanced, intelligent, and exceedingly useful guide to the Second Amendment."--The New Republic


"Carefully analyzing text, history, precedent, and ramifications for public policy, Tushnet demonstrates how to wrestle with a difficult question of constitutional interpretation. His lively book will interest everyone who wants to learn how scholars and courts cut through competing claims to decide what the Constitution means."--Carl T. Bogus, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University


"Timely and astute, Out of Range makes us think through the divisive legal arguments about the Second Amendment and face our cultural war over guns."--Joan Burbick, author of Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy


"Tushnet (Harvard Law School) writes about the Second Amendment with awareness of what is going on in the courts, at law schools, and in the streets--or in this case, the woods... The book evinces considerable immersion into the worlds of people who own guns, including what they believe, where they live, and how they argue... Highly recommended."--CHOICE


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Product Details

  • Series: Inalienable Rights
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195304241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195304244
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,799,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In 2008 the Supreme Court of the United States decided its first major Second Amendment case in about 70 years. The Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." To the uninitiated, the wording of the amendment does not provide an entirely clear meaning: the "people" have the right to keep and bear arms, but who are the "people"?; does the word "militia" refer to the people?; the said right shall not be infringed, but then how are the people/militia to be well regulated? More generally (and controversially), does the amendment guarantee individuals the right to keep and bear arms, or, instead, militias? In Washington, DC v. Heller (2008), the plaintiff brought suit against the federal district, claiming that DC's strict handgun laws (making it nearly illegal to own a handgun) violated the plaintiff's right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The federal trial court ruled in favor of the respondent, ruling that the Second Amendment only guarantees the right of militias to keep and bear arms. The appellate court reversed the initial ruling, saying that individuals are guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms.

The case then went to the Supreme Court. Finally, it was thought, the Court would settle an issue that had been near the core of modern American politics; indeed, the pro-gun-rights / pro-gun-control cleavage has been near the heart of major elections for quite some time, with conservatives opposing gun control and liberals campaigning on stiffer gun control policies to "make our streets safe".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This author, who I think is probably opposed to general gun ownership, has presented the most comprehensive background and explanation of the various view points on gun ownership that I have read in my 60 years. He has researched the legislative records from the founding of this nation to the present day and presented a description of how the various factions have evolved their legal positions.

He did, however fail to mention a flawed decision of the US Supreme Court based upon false testimony by the federal government that Lott and others have pointed out. Overall though, I highly recommend this book to anyone that would like to gain a strong understanding of the positions of the various factions in the gun control arguments and the legal basis upon which they stand.
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Format: Hardcover
Not a bad addition, a fairly cool analysis to an overheated debate item. The author will probably not please many people, as he concludes that the constitution really does not say a whole lot about modern gun restrictions, taking swipes at both pro and anti gun arguments. This book is short and not particularly in-depth on references.
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Format: Hardcover
I considered purchasing this book until I read page six, where the author suggests that the Fourth Amendment ("the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects") refers to something other than an individual right. When taken in the proper context (U.S. citizens in the United States, not foreign nationals and property in Mexico), it is obvious that this suggestion would be inappropriate in any attempt to undermine the pure individual rights model of the Second Amendment. See Minnesota v. Carter, where the U.S. Supreme Court noted that the language of the Fourth Amendment "indicates that [it] is a personal right that must be invoked by an individual," 525 U.S. 83, 88 (1998). Thus I decided to forego this purchase.
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