New source of antigun lies: 2nd Amendment Research Center


October 21, 2006, 10:16 AM
The antigun bigots have created another stealth organization to attack our right to arms and to dissemenate their lies about the Second Amendment. It is called the Second Amendment Research Foundation and it is located at Ohio State University.


When it comes to the debate over the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, few, if any, have contributed more than constitutional scholar and attorney, Stephen Halbrook. His books and law review articles are "must reading" for all (including other scholars) who are interested in the origin of the right to arms and the Second Amendment.

Now, Halbrook has come to the defense of the right to arms once again. This time, he responds to arguments currently being pushed by Ohio State University (OSU) history professor, Saul Cornell.

Most of the academics who once believed that the Second Amendment protects something other than an individual right have changed their minds or gone silent, due to the overwhelming evidence presented by Halbrook, Joyce Lee Malcolm, David Hardy, Don Kates, Sanford Levinson, Robert Cottrol, William van Alstyne, Akhil Reed Amar, Nelson Lund, and many others over the last 20-odd years.

Not Cornell. He is trying to create a niche for himself as a conspicuous dissenter, heading up the Second Amendment Research Center (SARC) at OSU. While the SARC purports to be a "nonpartisan center promoting scholarship on issues concerning the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and firearms regulation," it receives funding from the radically anti-gun Joyce Foundation.

Cornell is pushing the idea that the Second Amendment requires gun control and imposes a civic duty to possess arms while serving in a militia. And he says that those who believe that the amendment protects an individual right misinterpret the writings of Judge St. George Tucker, author of the first and foremost treatise on our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

To the contrary, Halbrook points out, Tucker considered the Second Amendment the "palladium of liberty" and self-defense "the first law of nature." Tucker lamented that under the infamous British Game Laws, only well-to-do Englishmen were permitted to hunt, but "others can keep a gun for their defense; so that the whole nation are completely disarmed, and left at the mercy of the government, under the pretext of preserving the breed of hares and partridges, for the exclusive use of the independent country gentlemen."

By comparison, Tucker said, under the Second Amendment our Congress has "no power to regulate, or interfere with the domestic concerns, or police of any state," "nor will the constitution permit any prohibition of arms to the people."

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October 21, 2006, 07:53 PM
I was aware of this organization previously, but didn't spend a lot of time reading their site. I did a little more tonight.

Consider this excerpt, please read in entirety.

>>ROBERT J. COTTROL: The gun control debate, at its heart, is not really a debate over constitutional history and interpretation, nor is it a debate over the criminological impacts of tightening gun regulation in one jurisdiction or loosening gun regulation in another. The debate is not even about the putative dangers of one type of firearm or the greater safeties that may be gained with possible alternative firearms designs. We have not yet discussed what should be the central issue of this debate: firearms and self-defense.

The gun control movement is hostile to the notion of ordinary citizens arming for self-defense. This point has been made by James and Sarah Brady, by Garry Wills, and by many other gun control advocates and organizations. It has also been the basic premise of the British, Canadian, and other governments who have instituted national gun control and who are seen as models by the American gun control movement. Some have argued that arming for self-defense is “an insult to the state”; others have claimed that it is “preparing to wage war against one’s fellow citizens.” Leading members of the gun control movement vary in their hostility to private firearms ownership. Some are totally opposed; others are genuinely tolerant of sport and recreational shooting. Some are even gun owners for these purposes. What unites them is the belief that gun ownership for self defense is, at best, morally suspect and certainly unwise as a matter of policy.

I can’t speak for all supporters of a robust view of the right to have arms, but I suspect that it is this view that is the major point of conflict between gun control advocates and those of us who are their opponents. No matter how willing gun control advocates are to concede a certain legitimacy to duck hunting and target shooting, these concessions are trivial at best. The important issue is: Are we to be allowed to possess the means of self defense, or are we to be forced to rely on the state to defend us? The state should, of course, defend us — that is one of its primary purposes. But should we grant the state a monopoly, essentially agreeing to be defenseless if the state does not come to our rescue? That is a dangerous doctrine. In part, I began thinking and writing about the Second Amendment by looking at it from the perspective of African American history, asking the question: What does granting the state a monopoly of force mean to a people who have not been able to depend on the state for protection? If in the “bad old days” the sheriff was a member of the Klan, of what use was it to rely on the sheriff to protect you from the lynch mob? Didn’t you need the means to protect yourself? This is a question that need not be limited to the issue of black people during the Jim Crow era. Instead, we should ask more generally: What happens when the state is less likely to protect a disfavored group? Shouldn’t that group have the means of self-protection?

The right to self-protection is probably the most fundamental of the natural rights. I believe that the opposition to the gun control movement is a resistance to those who would make that right difficult, if not impossible, to exercise. Any discussion of whether some grand compromise over the policy and politics of gun control can be achieved must start with this issue.<<

I think it would be a mistake to paint this organization with the broad brush of "antigun bigots" when such views are included in the full scope of the debate. I'm NOT saying this is a RKBA organization. But it does seem to be trying to make an honest effort in understanding 2A issues.


October 21, 2006, 08:45 PM
Progunner 1957:

I'd heard that Holbrook was taking on the "civic right" bull by the horns, glad to hear that he's done it.

HOWEVER, that sorta post really calls for a source link so we can read the rest of it.

October 21, 2006, 09:10 PM
It doesn't much matter if it is the tyranny of a despotic government or the tyrannical act of a despotic criminal that we must defend ourselves against. Both use arms against us. Both engage in tyranny. We have the right to meet the despots with superior arms. Yes, superior arms. This isn't a contest where we meet at dawn with dueling pistols at ten paces - it is self defense. Self defense is inalienable to life, and, therefore an inalienable right. Engage it with the intent to prevail. Damn few will ever prevail with limited arms.

We cannot rely solely upon the state for our self defense. We cannot divest ourselves of that right anyway.


"The right protected by the Second Amendment is absolute. Learn it, live it, love it and be armed in the defense of freedom, our rights, and our sovereignty. If we refuse infringement to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, we will never be burdened by tyranny, dictatorship, or subjugation - other than to bury those who attempt it. B.E.Wood

October 21, 2006, 09:42 PM
Has anyone read the book A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America
by Saul Cornell?

You can get the gist of his views from these three law journal articles:

October 21, 2006, 10:21 PM
If you check out Volokh Conspiracy blog there is a blog by Kopel down the page (a bit by this time as it was posted a few days ago)where there is a link to the Article by Holbrook. It makes Cornell look not only foolish but a liar. Worth reading.

October 21, 2006, 10:49 PM
I found this line, below the bolded text, particularly telling.

The state should, of course, defend us — that is one of its primary purposes

It is particularly telling a lie.

"Provide for the common defense" is not to provide for the defense of the individual. That phrase, from the preamble to the Constitution, is how the framers viewed governmental authority.

I venture to declare that not a single one of the framers of the Constitution would have hesitated to apply personal self-defense. They would have all viewed this under the common law as granted to every free man (though some would have declared that slaves had no such right).

It strikes me as being particularly hypocritical that the U.N. should assert a similar sentiment. That being the view that only the State has authority to provide for defense of the individual. Hypocritical because every single jerk-wad in the U.N. espousing this has armed body guards to keep them from facing reality.

When our country was founded there were no police forces as we know them today. There was no method to call for help if you were attacked other than yelling as loud as you could. The majority of the U.S. population had little to fear from native peoples or even dangerous animals yet they still kept firearms which were seldom used for hunting or target practice. They were there for defense.

We now face an enemy more dangerous than the British. More intimidating than the Mexican Empire. More numerous than all the native peoples who ever inhabited this continent. More bent on the destruction of our country than Germany, Japan and Italy combined.

This enemy has struck on our shores and has vowed to keep doing so. There is no reason to believe that they are bluffing.

October 21, 2006, 10:52 PM
Article by Stephen Halbrook refuting Saul Cornell's view that the Second Amendment is a collective, rather than an individual, right.

St. George Tucker’s Second Amendment: Deconstructing ‘The True Palladium of Liberty’, by Stephen P. Halbrook, available at:

Stay safe,

October 21, 2006, 11:13 PM
Progunner 1957:

I'd heard that Holbrook was taking on the "civic right" bull by the horns, glad to hear that he's done it.

HOWEVER, that sorta post really calls for a source link so we can read the rest of it.

Here's where I found it:

October 21, 2006, 11:32 PM

I believe you missed the point of the excerpt I posted.

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