Is the Right to Keep and Bear Arms a Fundamental Right?

Slate's blog on legal issues.
March 19 2008 2:40 PM

Is the Right to Keep and Bear Arms a Fundamental Right?

Deborah Pearlstein asks what evidence we have that the right to keep and bear arms is afundamental right of the same kind as other fundamental rights, such asthe other rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights. I can offer no better evidencethan the speech offered by Senator Jacob Howard, a member of the JointCommittee on Reconstruction that drafted the Fourteenth Amendment, andthe floor manager of the Fourteenth Amendment. He was given the task ofintroducing the amendment before the United States Senate andexplaining its purposes.

Jack M. Balkin is Knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

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