Phi Beta Cons

OSU’s Second Amendment Center Runs Out of Ammo

Ohio State University’s Second Amendment Center, funded largely by the anti-gun Joyce Foundation, has called it quits. Randy Barnett has details over at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Barnett argues that the Center closed because its purpose — to argue against an individual-right interpretation of the Second Amendment — was rendered moot by Heller. In NR last year, I detailed how the Joyce Foundation funded law-review symposia on the Second Amendment (subscribers can read my piece here).

Whatever the Foundation and Center’s problems, I found the Center’s head, Prof. Saul Cornell, very sincere in his Second Amendment beliefs and very willing to speak about the controversial law reviews. Even if Barnett is correct in his reasoning of why the center closed, I’m not sure it’s all that sinister — my piece was before Heller, and I remember Cornell telling me something to the effect that he’d just as soon the Supreme Court resolve the issue so he could move on to other things.

After Heller, there isn’t a whole lot to be accomplished, practically speaking, from studying the history of the Second Amendment (unless you think you can prevent the Amendment’s incorporation or dramatically impact its scope). I don’t think an academic institution should try to push the debate in a specific direction, but I do think such institutions should focus on topics on which the debate has somewhere to go.


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