Skip to main content

Guns

Here are some amusing -- and some very sad -- images we collected from the archives of American Heritage.

Click on the image below to start the slideshow. Read more >>

To know what the Framers intended, we need to understand the historical context.

Editor's Note: We asked Prof. Joseph Ellis, one of the leading scholars on the Founding era, to provide us with historical content for the Second Amendment and what the founders intended when they wrote it. Prof. Read more >>

One of the best-known advocates for gun rights outlines where he thinks compromise is possible.

Editor's Note: The modern era of relaxed regulations on gun ownership began in 2008 when the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to bear arms. Read more >>

The Supreme Court left the door open for reasonable regulations of guns if Congress has the will to act.

Editors Note: We asked Prof. Adam Winkler, a nationally recognized expert on Constitutional law and the history of gun control, to give us his thoughts on how we can steer a middle ground between the right to bear arms and strict gun control. Read more >>

Given the recent tragic shootings, historians should play a role in providing dispassionate facts about the history of gun rights and gun control.

Since its founding 70 years ago, American Heritage has stayed out of the fray of partisan politics, focusing instead on a straightforward telling of the American story. Read more >>

After ten years of research into the history of gun rights, it’s clear that most Americans' understanding of the “right to bear arms” is not consistent with historical facts.

Editor's Note: We asked Patrick J. Charles, the author of numerous articles and books on gun control, legal history and the Constitution, to give us an overview of the history of gun rights. Read more >>

We researched all the colonial and state constitutions enacted before 1791 to find out what the Founding generation said about militias and the right to bear arms in these antecedent documents.

By the time the Second Amendment was drafted and ratified in 1791, all of the states except Georgia and North Carolina had codified regulations on militias in their state constitutions. Read more >>

Here are the original opinion and dissents in the famous Supreme Court case that defined the modern version of the "right to bear arms" 

CONTENTS Syllabus Opinion (Scalia) Dissent (Stevens) Read more >>

The National Rifle Association and the Right to Bear Arms

Among the most common mechanical possessions in the households of America, outnumbering even the motor vehicle and possibly outnumbered itself only by the flush toilet and the television set, is a device which, having won the West and championed liberty over Read more >>
As this issue goes to press, Governor George Wallace of Alabama lies gravely wounded by bullets fired from the handgun of a would-be assassin while he was campaigning for the Presidential nomination in Maryland. Read more >>

It's the only industrial nation in which the possession of rifles, shotguns, and handguns is lawfully prevalent among large numbers of its population.

When American colonists sorely needed friends, a Dutch island governor risked political ruin by saluting the rebels’ flag

Summer was on the wane in wartime Philadelphia, 1776, and the city which had startled the world with the Declaration of Independence was alive with purposeful activity. Read more >>

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate