Michael Waldman traces the Second Amendment's life, from militias to the NRA to the newfound right to have handguns at home.
Historians have argued for decades that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with the right to own a handgun nor even with the right to use a gun in self-defense. Nevertheless, a counternarrative—bolstered by the National Rifle Association—has triumphed in the popular mind and been codified to some extent in the Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which said that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to possess a firearm.”
America's problem with guns is multigenerational and multilayered. It has to do with our origin myths, myths grounded in redemptive violence.