A Right to Bear Arms by Stephen P. Halbrook
State and Federal Bills of Rights and Constitutional Guarantees (Contributions in Political Science)

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The right to keep and bear arms was considered a fundamental, individual right in the original 14 states (the 13 colonies and Vermont) from the pre-Revolutionary period through the adoption of the federal Bill of Rights in 1791. A Right to Bear Arms is the first book to demonstrate the deprivation of this right as a causal factor to the American Revolution. The book also examines the significance of the right to bear arms in each of the first states and the state influences on the adoption of the Second Amendment to the federal Constitution.

This is the first book ever published on the immediate origins of the right to bear arms in the state and federal bill of rights. The work relies primarily on original sources such as period newspapers, constitutional convention debates, and the writings of the framers of the first state constitutions. The epilogue, Constitutional Conventions in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, accounts for changes in the bills of rights that have affected the issue of the right to bear arms. Considering the bicentennial of the federal Bill of Rights, being celebrated in 1989-1991, and the current gun control controversy, this book is a valuable source to historians, political scientists, law libraries, and special interest groups.


About Stephen P. Halbrook

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Published October 24, 1989 by Praeger. 173 pages
Genres: Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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The New York Review of Books

That the power of organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia (the manner of disciplining the militia to be prescribed by Congress) remains with the individual states, and that Congress shall not have authority to call or march any of the militia out of their own state, without the consent o...

Sep 21 1995 | Read Full Review of A Right to Bear Arms: State a...