The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America

Winkler, Adam

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Author Adam Winkler, a professor of Constitutional law, uses the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, which invalidated a law banning handguns in the nation's capital, as a springboard for a historical narrative of America's four-centuries-long political battle over gun control and the right to bear arms. From the Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment to the origins of the Ku Klux Klan, ironically as a gun control organization, the debate over guns has always generated controversy. Whether examining the Black Panthers' role in provoking the modern gun rights movement or Ronald Reagan's efforts to curtail gun ownership, Winkler weaves together the dramatic stories of gun rights advocates and gun control lobbyists, providing often unexpected insights into the venomous debate that now cleaves our nation.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0393077411
Branch Call Number: 344.730533 W7751g 2011
Characteristics: xi, 361 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill. ;,25 cm
Alternate Title: Gun fight


From Library Staff

Using the 2008 legal case District of Columbia v. Heller , the author traces the history of gun rights in America, from the 2nd Amendment forward, exploring both sides of the issue.

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Jan 21, 2015

Yeah, let's talk about gun control because a few Americans died. As we go and murder millions around the world, including innocent women, men, children, and babies, in the name of oil, capitalism, and democracy. The hypocrisy stinks almost as much as all those decaying bodies. Gun control my ass. The issue is completely tangential, and you all are morons. Hey, I've an idea, if we're not to use guns in self-defense, maybe we can send them to the Middle East, so that innocent families can use them . . .

Jul 13, 2014
  • Laphroaig rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is an important book; I do not say that lightly. If only our legislators and lobbyists could be as informed, reasoned, lucid, balanced, and dispassionate, we could create a finely-tuned balance between individual rights and effective, enforceable regulation.

Aug 09, 2013
  • unbalancedbutfair rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Easily one of the fairest books on this subject. It follows the legislative track of Heller V DC showing the behind the scenes aspects of the legislation. Along the way the book traces the history of firearms and the people who care deeply about them. Whether that care is hatred or adoration, or somewhere in between. I do think the author's biases unfortunately bleed through. The worst example I saw was equating registration laws that required all males of age to own and maintain firearms due to militia service in the 18th century with modern calls for registrations of anyone who happens to own a firearm. There are very large very important differences between these practices and to equate them indicates a slight bias against firearms. Still. In general he has written an informative, readable account of issues and idiocy on both sides of the debate and for that he deserves applause. Anyone who wants a picture of this debate would be well served by adding this to their reading in the area.

Mar 25, 2013
  • bbb1771 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Well written, fairly balanced overview of the two hardened American extremes of gun ownership vs. gun control. Written by a professor of law at the University of California, it is nevertheless easy to follow the historical arguments, contradictions and absurdities put forth by both sides of a debate at the core of the American reality that puzzles and confuses the rest of the world.


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