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07/19/2019

More from Neal Goldfarb on Corpus Linguistics and the Second Amendment
Michael Ramsey

At LAWnLinguistics, Neal Goldfarb: Corpora and the Second Amendment: “the right (of the people) to … bear arms”.  From the introduction: 

Having dealt in my last post with how bear arms was ordinarily used and understood in 18th-century America, I’ll turn in this post to the question of how it was used in the Second Amendment.

I’ll begin by considering how the right to bear arms would most likely have been understood during the Founding Era. As I will explain, I think it would have been understood to mean something along the lines of ‘serve in the militia.’ I’ll then ask whether that conclusion is changed by the fact that the right to bear arms is described in the Second Amendment as belonging to “the people.” My answer will be that my conclusion is unchanged.

My next post will wrap up my examination of the Second Amendment by considering whether my interpretation is ruled out by the fact that the Second Amendment deals not simply with the right of the people to bear arms but with their right to keep and bear arms. And again, the answer will be no.

(His prior post is noted here).

RELATED: In the New Republic, Matt Ford, When John Paul Stevens Eviscerated Antonin Scalia; The late justice dismantled originalism in his dissent in District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark gun-rights case.  (The article is actually pretty fair, despite the over-the-top title).  But I don't think that Justice Stevens' opinion in Heller -- which was very much an originalist opinion -- persuaded many people who weren't already inclined to agree.  Most importantly, it didn't persuade any of the conservative Justices.  As Neal Goldfarb's posts show, anti-Heller originalist arguments have become much more sophisticated since then.

(Via How Appealing).