GUNCRAZY: How The NRA Bought The 2nd Amendment


WASHINGTON POST: For more than three decades, the NRA has sponsored legal seminars, funded legal research and encouraged law review articles that advocate an individual’s right to possess guns, according to the organization’s reports. The result has been a profound shift in legal thinking on the Second Amendment. And the issue of individual gun-possession rights, once almost entirely ignored, has moved into the center of constitutional debate and study. For proponents of stricter gun control, the NRA’s encouragement of favorable legal scholarship has been a mark of its strategic, patient advocacy. “I think this was one of the most successful attempts to change the law and to change a legal paradigm in history,” said Carl T. Bogus, a professor at Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island and the editor of “The Second Amendment in Law and History,” a collection of essays that challenges the interpretation of the individual right. “They were thinking strategically. I don’t think the NRA funds scholarship out of academic interest. I think the NRA funds something because it has a political objective.” The Second Amendment states: “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.” Before the Heller decision, the Supreme Court and lower courts had interpreted the language as “preserving the authority of the states to maintain militias,” according to a Congressional Research Service analysis. “It was a settled question, and the overwhelming consensus, bordering on unanimity, was that the Second Amendment granted a collective right” enjoyed by the states, not individuals, Bogus said. Under this interpretation, the Constitution provides no right for an individual to possess a firearm. MORE

RELATED: Four people were killed and two others critically injured in the shootings on Wednesday in the sleepy New York villages of Herkimer and Mohawk, which face one another across the Mohawk River. The villages are about 220 miles northwest of New York City. Police said they did not know of a motive behind the shooting sprees. “The violence that was inflicted yesterday on these victims was horrible,” D’Amico said. Shortly before 9:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Myers drove to John’s Barber Shop in Mohawk, and after a brief exchange of words inside the shop, he opened fire with a shotgun, according to police. Two customers were killed, and the owner and another customer were critically wounded, D’Amico said. They remained in critical condition on Thursday, he said. “Totally unprovoked, we believe he fired a number of rounds from the shotgun,” he said on Wednesday. Myers then drove to Gaffey’s Fast Lube in the neighboring Herkimer, and fired again, D’Amico said, killing two people. MORE

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