Gun control is one of the most enduringly controversial issues in modern American politics. For the first time this book compiles a comprehensive array of documents that explain and illuminate the historical and contemporary context of the modern gun debate. Bringing together over 50 documents from the colonial era to the present, including early colonial laws, founding documents, letters, political debates, federal and state laws, federal and state court cases, and various political documents, this book is an indispensable reference work for those seeking to understand the origins and modern consequences of American gun policy, including the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. Accompanying commentary and analysis is included to help the reader fully understand the meaning of these documents. Numerous bibliographic sources provide additional resources for interested readers. Ideal for undergraduate and high school students, this collection of primary documents surrounding one of America’s oldest controversial issues is a must-have for library shelves.
Contrary to popular impression, gun laws are as old as the country, and reflect the intersection of citizens’ personal gun habits and the country’s early need to defend itself by citizen militias who were required to arm themselves. The nation’s gun policies evolved as its needs and resources changed. Old-style militias gave way to a modern professional American military, and the settling of the American frontier ushered in modern gun laws. In the past century, political assassinations and gun-related mass violence spurred both new gun control efforts and a burgeoning modern gun rights movement. Students will be able to read and analyze primary documents surrounding these events, including the Federalist Papers, early hunting laws, Supreme Court rulings, federal and state regulations, and recent political platform statements. Ideal for undergraduate and high school students, this collection of primary documents surrounding one of America’s oldest controversial issues is a must-have for library shelves.