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Saving the Second Amendment


This week on Uncommon Knowledge, the man who saved the Second Amendment. 

In 2007, Judge Laurence Silberman, senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, wrote a decision overturning the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns.  The following year, the Supreme Court agreed with him.

The Second Amendment:

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.

Judge Silberman:

The [long-accepted] notion was that the prefatory clause [of the Second Amendment] modified the right to keep and bear arms.  That is to say, the prefatory clause indicated to some people and to a number of courts that there was no individual right [to bear arms]; the right was only to act in the militia.  It is only because I had never looked at the issue in any legal proceeding that I had this background view that it [the right to bear arms] was a collective right. When I started reading the briefs in the case and looking carefully at the language of the Second Amendment, I concluded otherwise.

To watch Judge Silberman explain his reasoning in the most important Second Amendment decision in at least seven decades, click here.


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