Lund on Guns and Tyranny

Professor Nelson Lund commented in an article appearing in the Albany (NY) Times Union on recent claims by gun rights advocates that weapons are needed by citizens to protect against government. 

According to Lund, the Second Amendment was "an attempt to ameliorate the unhappy consequences" of too much potential military power in two few hands.

"An armed populace," Lund wrote in a 1996 article on the Second Amendment, "would still constitute a highly significant obstacle to the most serious kinds of governmental oppression." In spite of that, Lund added, "it obviously does not follow from this proposition that the Second Amendment creates an individual right of insurrection against the government."

"Tyranny" a new twist in debate over guns, Times Union, March 2, 2013. By Dan Freedman.

The 'tyranny' rationale is 'both a distortion of history and potentially very dangerous,' said Dennis Henigan, a former vice president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

"'I also call it the Timothy McVeigh theory of the Second Amendment,' Henigan said, referring to the militia-inspired bomber of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 who was executed in 2001.

"Constitutional law experts, gun control advocates and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill worry that what was once a fringe belief of militia groups training in the woods with semiautomatic rifles is now merging into the mainstream of gun owners and gun rights advocacy.

"At the same Judiciary hearing last month, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., recounted how NRA members in Illinois told him the Second Amendment is not just about hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Durbin said he was told, 'We need the firepower and the ability to protect ourselves from our government if they knock on our doors and we need to fight back.'"

Read the article