The Potowmack Institute Resources, Second Amendment, Gun Control

It's not about guns...
It's about citizenship

The Potowmack Institute
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[NRA v. Reno (July, 2000)]
[US v. Emerson PAGE]
[Printz and Mack PAGE]
[US v. Lopez PAGE]
[ARCHIVE]. Potowmack Institute Files
[PotowmackForum], Interactive Posting


The list here is far from exhaustive.

Second Amendment and militia decisions in the courts are provided at .../in_court. Gun rights arguments are now on appeal in the US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, in US v. Emerson.

The Second Amendment Foundation maintains a regularly updated Emerson News Page. Page also includes news on Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The NRA's NewsCenter collects more general news information on gun issues. Updated daily.

Emerson has been a much neglected opportunity for public discourse on gun rights and gun violence. Why it has been neglected is a serious subject of inquiry. The Emerson briefs are a essential resource for any concerned citizen and serious student of the subject. All briefs were filed by January, 2000. Oral arguments were held in June, 2000. The Fifth Circuit did not come out with a ruling until October 16, 2001.

[Tennessee Law Review]
[Chicago-Kent Law Review]
[John Ashcroft hearings]
[John Ashcroft Letter to the NRA]
[Gun Lobby/Libertarian/Right-Wing Resources]
[Firearms Regulation Resources]
[Militia, Militia and Military History, Historic Documents]
[Other Resources]
[General History]
[The Rightwing Movement]
[Libertarians & Conservatives]
[Political Theory]
[Search Amazon]

Highly Recommended

William Vizzard, Shots in the Dark: The Policy, Politics, and Symbolism of Gun Control, 2000.
Michael Lind, Up From Conservatism, 1996.
Gary Hart, The Minuteman, 1998.
Peter G. Brown, Restoring Public Trust, 1994.
Stephen L. Newman, Liberalism at Wit's End: The Libertarian Revolt Against the Modern State, 1984.
Don Higginbotham, "The Federalized Militia Debate,..." William and Mary Quarterly, 1998

Of Particular Interest

Whittaker Chambers, "Big Sister is Watching You," National Review, December 28, 1957. Our most active file.
Ernest van den Haag, "Libertarians & Conservatives," National Review, 1979.

Two Law Review Issues

The Tennessee Law Review, A Second Amendment Symposium Issue, Spring 1995, on the gun lobby side and the Chicago-Kent Law Review, Symposium on the Second Amendment: Fresh Look issue, 2000, on the firearms regulation side provide important collections of articles on gun rights.


Spring, 1995

Order information for printed copy


"Foreward: Guns, Militias, and Oklahoma City," Randy E. Barnett.

"A Critical Guide to the Second Amendment," Glen Harlan Reynolds.

    Where the "Standard Model" was first asserted.

"Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence, or Pandemic of Propaganda?," Don B. Kants, Henry E. Schaffer, PhD., John K. Lattimer, MD, George B. Murray, MD, and Edwin W. Cassem, MD.

"Congress Interprets the Second Amendment: Declarations by a Co-Equal Branch on the Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms," Stephen P. Halbrook.

"Revolt of the Masses: Armd Civilians and the Insurrectionary Theory of the Second Amendment," Colonel Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF.

"'Shall Issue': The New Wave of Concealed Handgun Permit Laws," Clayton E. Cramer and David B. Kopel.

"The Conceptual Foundations of Anglo-American Jurisprudence in Religion and Reason," Dan Gifford.

"Gun Control and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Second Amendment," Joyce Lee Malcolm.

The Chicago-Kent Law Review,

Vol. 76, Number 1, 2000
Symposium on the Second Amendment: Fresh Looks

Symposium Editor
Carl T. Bogus

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These articles are the most complete challenge by professional scholars to gun lobby/libertarian/extreme individualist arguments developed in the self-proclaimed "Standard Model." They greatly expand on the arguments made in the Potowmack Institute's amicus in US v. Emerson.. The amicus brief was filed in August, 1999. The letter to John Ashcroft of August 31, 2001, updates the amicus to reflect subsequent events and further research. These articles, however, fail to address what the NRA really wants and what it argues for in federal court which is to keep gun ownership outside of the knowledge and reach of any and all government. Only Bellesiles' article mentions the "Return of Militia", the inventory or militia resources including privately owned weapons authorized by the Militia Act of 1792, but Bellesiles mentions the "Return of Militia" only in passing. The "Return of Militia" is the central issue to what the gun lobby/libertarians want and what the NRA argues for in court. It defeats any notion that there was in the early Republic a right to be armed outside of the law and outside of the knowledge and reach of government.

"The History and Politics of Second Amendment Scholarship: A Primer,", Carl T. Bogus

    An overview of the development of the pseudoscholarship. What is missing is a characterization of the political cynicism and the defeatist retreat from political life that has motivated it.

To Hold and Bear Arms: The English Perspective," Lois G. Schwoerer

    A critical examination of Joyce Lee Malcolm's history.

"The Second Amendment in Action," Michael A. Bellesiles.

"The Second Amendment: The Highest Stage of Originalism," Jack N. Rakove.

"Disarmed by Time: The Second Amendment and the Failure of Originalism," Daniel A. Farber.

"'A Well Regulated Militia': The Second Amendment in Historical Perspective," Paul Finkelman.

"Natural Rights and the Second Amendment," Steven J. Heyman.

    expands on many of the points of political theory in the Potowmack Institute amicus brief in Emerson. The natural right to exercise force is the one right that is alienated when entering political community.
"What Does the Second Amendment Mean Today?" Michael C. Dorf.

"Lost and Found: Researching the Second Amendment," Robert J. Spitzer

"The Second Amendment in Context: The Case of the Vanishing Predicate," H. Richard Uviller & William G. Merkel

    This may become the standard historical reference eventhough Uviller and Merkel hint at the precious individual right. The courts have already decided that the individual right is irrelevant.

John Ashcroft Hearings: An important development

On January 16, 2001, during the confirmation hearings for Ashcroft for Attorney, Senator Kennedy made this statement:

    Deep concerns have been raised about his record on gun control. He has called James Brady the leading enemy of responsible gun owners. Senator Ashcroft is so far out of the mainstream that he has said citizens need to be armed in order to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. Our government, tyrannical? In fact, he relies on an extreme reading of the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the Constitution to oppose virtually all gun control laws.

Complete transcript at:
Senator Kyl provide further comments on January 17, 2001, in defense of Ashcroft. Complete text at:

Kennedy was referring to statements from committee hearings in 1998 which are described at:
US Senate Republican Policy Committee
"John Ashcroft's Defense of the Second Amendment"
"Notable "Madmen" who share John Ashcroft's View of the Second Amendment"

Other observations:

Kennedy's statement provoked a strong reaction. This is where real discussion on gun rights begins but the point had no follow-up in the newsmedia or public discourse.

The reaction was immediate from extreme libertarian ideologue John Lott who masquerades as an objective social scientist:
"HCI links John Ascroft to Mass Murder," January 17, 2001, originally published in Investors' Business Daily and picked up by the Philadelphia Daily News.
Other John Lott opinions. Nowhere does Lott address the fundamental relationship between citizen and state. Lott does not recognized that there is no conflict betweeen gun ownership for self-defense and accountability to public authority, nor does he appreciate that it is possible to have gun ownership for self-defense on the slippery to anarchy, but there is no individual right to self-defense in the state of anarchy. See amicus, Section III.

Lott drew a response from Handgun Control president Michael Barnes, editorial, Philadephia Daily News, January 23, 2001
"The Anti-Gun Folks Fire Back"
It is noteworthy that Barnes' points were published in the Philadephia Daily News not the "rabidly antigun" Washington Post. The Potowmack Institute has had a standing offer since 1993 to pay $100 to anyone who could get Barnes' points published in the Washington Post the NRA's most assiduous and determined protector from embarrassment and its doctrine of political of liberty from serious examination. Real efforts to address gun violence will begin when the Washington Post prints in full context what James Madison was really describing in Federalist Paper No. 46 and makes an issue of why some people have to be blatantly dishonest to make their case. Federalist No. 46 is very visible in the Emerson briefs and in the Chicago-Kent articles. Madison was not describing the civil rights of private individuals to be armed outside of the knowledge and reach of law and government.

Other comments:

    Terence Jeffrey, editor of Human Events, reports and comments on the usual misrepresentation of Federalist Paper No. 46. He mentions Sen. Feingold's senior thesis on the Second Amendment. We have not been able to procure a copy of his thesis.
Search Google for "John Ashcroft Lott Bork McVeigh Kennedy Barnes federalist 46" or some combination for more.

Ashcroft Letter to the NRA

Another important development, May 17, 2001
"Ashcroft Supports Broad View of Gun Rights,"NYTimes, May 24, 2001

The Violence Policy Center has provided a line by line decontruction of John Ashcroft's letter to the NRA, released July 25, 2001,

    The VPC provides an important and useful analysis. The problem is the position and reasoning that Ashcroft articulates has been around in its present form for thirty years. This if the first time a gun control organization has made a serious public challenge and refutation. The VPC is beholden to public health strategies. It does not follow through from its decontruction to a firearms policy based on fundamental concepts. See .../vpc-reg.html.

The Potowmack Institute letter to John Ashcroft, August 31, 2001

    Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:

    Are citizens— gun owners and non-gun owners alike— citizens under law and government or are they individual sovereigns, laws unto themselves, in the State of Nature which is the state of anarchy?

[Tennessee Law Review]
[Chicago-Kent Law Review]
[John Ashcroft hearings]
[John Ashcroft Letter to the NRA]
[Gun Lobby/Libertarian/Right-Wing Resources]
[Firearms Regulation Resources]
[Militia, Militia and Military History, Historic Documents]
[Other Resources]
[General History]
[The Rightwing Movement]
[Libertarians & Conservatives]
[Political Theory]
[Search Amazon]

Gun Lobby/Libertarian/Right-Wing Resources

Second Amendment Foundation's US v. Emerson Pages:

Second Amendment Foundation's Emerson news page:

National Rifle Association's News Page:

Opinions of libertarian ideologue John Lott author of More Guns, Less Crime

Tanya Metaksa archive from frontpagemag.

A large number of law review articles related to Second Amendment are on the Internet. These are overwhelmingly gun lobby and libertarian articles. A list of articles is maintain by the Second Amendment Foundation.

The Paul Revere Network

    Paul Revere was a patriot to the Revolution. He was a traitor to the King. Is it possible now to be both a patriot and a traitor to the Constitution?
    Join the PRN Subscription list, a daily source of gun lobby news, information, and announcement.

John Birch Society webpage

    The John Birch Society has many interesting observation on the world in which we live. The NRA wants to be part of the mainstream of American life and not marginalized like the John Birch Society. The NRA needs to explain on what terms its doctrine of political liberty is different from that of the JBS. The JBS magazine The New American had a confused cover story in its February 6, 1995, issue, which cites several gun lobby/libertarian authors (Stephen Halbrook, David Hardy, Joyce Lee Malcolm), "The Rise of Citizen Militias,", William F. Jasper. Jasper provides many standard gun lobby arguments and references to Federalist Papers Nos. 46, 29, but like "Militias:Training for Doomsday...", Gun News Digest, 1995, the article shows the difficulty of reconciling the mystical individual right with private armies.

    "Liberty's Champion,", Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., The New American, February 6, 1995. Obituary of Murray Rothbard, the primary formulator of the libertarian fantasy, included in Appendix G of the Potowmack Institute's amicus brief in US v. Emerson. In the same issue as "The Rise of Citizen Militias" above.

    John Birch Society gun control page

Wayne LaPierre, Guns, Crime, and Freedom (1995)
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Stephen Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed, 1984
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    This is the most complete statement of the gun lobby's ideology, described as "pathbreaking"and for the "serious scholar." It should be read along side of what Halbrook calls "the elementary books of public right," some of which are listed below. Halbrook provides 1306 footnotes in 198 pages. That is not unusual for serious scholarship. It is requisite for pseudoscholarship. Halbrook cites the elementary books of public right most of which are available in many editions. He does not name the edition he is citing from so it is difficult to check his references. It is almost entertaining to see how Halbrook lifts words out of context to prove his arguments when the words in context have very little relation to what he wants to prove. The evolution of political theory does not turn on an absolutist state and an armed populace pointing guns at it, but this is the formulation of a true believer. See Locke and FP No. 46, 29, and Rehm. Halbrook's preposterous doctrine of "libertarian republicanism" is critiqued in the Potowmack Institute's amicus curiae brief in US v. Emerson.

    Halbrook received a favorable review from F. Smith Fussner:;
    And, a critical review from Joyce Lee Malcolm:
    Malcolm is a supporter of Halbrook's agenda but faults him for not doing a better job. She discredits herself by not making an issue of all the quotes Halbrook lifts out of context. See Lois Schwoerer article above.

Clayton Cramer's Homepage Cramer is a hyperactive gun rights researcher who takes much credit for exposing the flaws in the work of Michael Bellesiles. Cramer provides links to many historical militia documents.

Newt Gingrich, To Renew America, HarperCollins, (1995).
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    Now in paperback. Gingrich writes in his chapter on gun rights: "The Second Amendment is a political right written into our Constitution for the purpose of protecting individual citizens from their own government" (p. 202). They sew the Constitution into their shirts as a bullet proof vest. This is what we have come to. Gingrich's words are cited in the Potowmack Institute amicus brief in Emerson.

James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual, Simon & Schuster, 1997.
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    The libertarian fantasy in cyberspace. Individual sovereignty is a plank in the Libertarian Party Platform. Individual sovereigns by definition do not consent to be governed.

Richard Poe, The Seven Myths of Gun Control
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    In a new culture war twist, Poe seems to want to blame the feminists for destroying a warrior culture by creating an emasculated culture where boys are taught not to connect with gun ownership. Somehow a gun in every pocket outside of the knowledge and reach of law and government creates a warrior culture. If Poe wants a warrior culture he should advocated the original concept of the militia where all the obligated men in society were conscripted into militia duty and subjected to training and discipline.

B. Bruce-Briggs, "The Great American Gun War," The Public Interest, Fall, 1976. Sympathetic to gun lobby. Often quoted. The Public Interest refused copyright permission. Available in The Gun Control Debate, Ed. Lee Nisbet, Prometheus Books, 1990.

Reason magazine gun rights/gun control articles.

Parody on Center to Prevent Handgun Violence

Malicious Parody of Million Mom March

Searches on selected names and subjects can produce many other articles. Try Tanya Metaksa, Charlton Heston.

Firearms Regulation Resources

Osha Gray Davidson, Underfire:The NRA & the Battle for Gun Control, Henry Holt and Co., 1993.
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Robert J. Spitzer, The Politics of Gun Control, Chatham House Publishers, 1998.
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    Analysis of gun control/gun rights issues by a professional political scientist.

William J. Vizzard, Shots in the Dark: The Policy, Politics, and Symbolism of Gun Control, Bowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2000.
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    Vizzard's much neglected book provides the most complete analysis of gun control politics. Vizzard outlines four paradigms for firearms policy: 1) crime control, 2) public health, 3) culture wars, 4) sovereignty. Crime control is what the politicians want to focus on. Public health is what the gun controllers and their centrist, establishment foundation supports have decide on, and culture wars is all the news media seem to be able to handle. The Potowmack Institute has been concerned from the beginning with sovereignty, the fundamental relationship between citizen and state. That is the issue we raised in our amicus brief in Emerson. Vizzard writes (p. 9): "Although many Americans are ill at ease with the sovereignty and social order paradigm, it is likely the heart of the gun-control issue." It is the heart and failure to address it is the source of much more of a problem than simply gun violence. The failure means the business as usual of cynical, small-minded, obstructionist politics.

Except for the Violence Policy Center all the gun control organizations support registration and licensing. However, they have not developed an intellectual justification for this policy goal and aggressively followed it to its inevitable conclusion. Registration and licensing are the only effective means by which gun ownership and use can be effectively regulated.

Tim Lambert's talk.politics.guns archive.

Tim Lambert's critique of John Lott.

Handgun Control, Inc., Home Page and its affiliate, The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.

Violence Policy Center

    The Violence Policy Center is funded by establishment, centrist foundations and is completely beholden to public health strategies. It will not take on advocacy of fundamental political issues and the serious struggle that those would involve. See Gun Control v. Control Gun Manufacturers
    and "Falling in Line with the NRA" The Violence Policy Center did not file a brief in Emerson

    Josh Sugarmann, The NRA: Money, Firepower, Fear, National Press, 1992.
    [Order From Amazon Today]

    Sugarmann is Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center.

Americans for Gun Safety

    This effort was created and funded by billionaire Andrew McKelvey out of frustration with the strategy of existing gun control organizations. See Billionaire's Gun Control Role Is Debated, Washington Post, April 27, 2001.
    Anything that starts would with "gun safety" in its title is flawed at conception. Addressing gun violence is not about gun safety. It is about the fundamental relationship between citizen and state. Americans for Gun Safety "supports the rights of individuals who own firearms for sport, protection and collection." However, "with rights come responsibilities." Of course, we have to have "reasonable regulations." The "rights" supported here are not distinquish from the rights claimed by the gun lobby and the libertarians which are the right to be armed outside of the law, the right to individual sovereignty, and the right to insurrection. The right to be armed outside of the law is the right the NRA argues for in court. There is no mention of US v. Emerson on the Americans for Gun Safety website. As long as American for Gun Safety does not address the fundamental relationship between citizen and state, it will be another unproductive player in progun/antigun culture war politics.

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

    The oldest gun control organization.

The Million Mom March, now combined with Handgun Control, Inc. into The Brady Center

    The MMM advocates registration and licensing but shows no indication of educating a constituency on the fundamental concepts. Without fundamental concepts, MMM activity expresses little more than incoherent sentiments. In "The Million Mom Moles", the NRA's Tanya Metaksa may have a point that the Million Moms were created by and are directed by the media and the Democratic Party. The NRA and Metaksa need not worry. The news media and the Democratic Party are not threats to the armed populace fantasy. (This article used to be on the FrontPage Magazine website but has been removed.)

[Tennessee Law Review]
[Chicago-Kent Law Review]
[John Ashcroft hearings]
[John Ashcroft Letter to the NRA]
[Gun Lobby/Libertarian/Right-Wing Resources]
[Firearms Regulation Resources]
[Militia, Militia and Military History, Historic Documents]
[Other Resources]
[General History]
[The Rightwing Movelent]
[Libertarians & Conservatives]
[Political Theory]
[Search Amazon]

Militias, Militia and Military History and Historical Documents

US Army: Army National Guard History

The Militia Watchdog

    Mark Pitcavage provides probably the most extensive links to militia related materials on the Internet. He provides a long lists of references and links which readers are encouraged to examine. It is not necessary to repeat them here. His lengthy file with Sheldon Sheps, "Militia - History and Law FAQ" is a valuable resource. It covers much of the territory covered here. Pitcavage's PhD dissertation at Ohio State, "An Equitable Burden: The Decline of State Militias, 1783-1858" (1995) was completed at Ohio State University in 1995. UMI order no. 9612259. tel. 800-521-0600.

Kenneth Otis McCreedy, "Palladium of Liberty: The American Military System, 1815-1861," unpublished PhD dissertation, U of Ca., Berkeley, 1991. UMI order no. 9228764. tel. 800-521-0600.

John Kenneth Rowland, "Origins of the Second Amendment: The Creation of the Constitutional Rights of Militia and of Keeping and Bearing Arms," previously unpublished PhD dissertation, Ohio State University, 1978, UMI order no. 7902218. tel. 1-800-521-0600.

    Relevant work of historical scholarship which is not mentioned in any of the gunlobby/libertarian pseudoscholarship. Excerpts provided at .../1197row.html.

John Kenneth Rowland, Appendix A, US v. Emerson, 1999, "Resetting the Terms of Debate on the Second Amendment: New Light on the Original Meaning of the Phrase "to Bear Arms" Based on 300 Historical Uses of the Term in a Military Contest in Early America, 1618-1791."

Jonathan Karl, The Right to Bear Arms: The Rise of America's New Militias, HarperPaperbacks, 1995.
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    Informative overview of the militia movement by a reporter formerly with the New York Post.

Kenneth S. Stern, A Force Upon the Plain, Simon & Schuster, 1996. Paperback.
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    Stern provides a descriptive account of the present militia movement.

Militia Fever.

    A "left-libertarian" critique of militias.

Michael A. Bellesiles, "The Origins of the Gun Culture in the United States, 1760-1865," The Journal of American History, September, 1996.

Michael A. Bellesiles, "Gun Laws in Early America: The Regulation of Firearm Ownership, 1607-1794," Law and History Review, Fall 1998.

Michael A. Bellesiles, "Suicide Pact: New Readings of the Second Amendment," Constitutional Commentary, October, 1999. Bellesiles writes:

    The Standard Model is an abstraction divorced from a specific historical context. At times it borders on an intellectual game played by law professors swappping quotations and citing one another. As one reads yet again Justice Story's description of the militia as the "palladium of liberty," one realizes that the Standard Modellers are just shuffling the same deck and dealing it out in a different order.

    See Appendix I, "The Meaning They Seek."

    Bellesiles has been under much attack for accused faulty or dishonest scholarship in his book The Arming of America. There is plenty of other support outside of Bellesiles' thesis and evidence that there was a shortage of guns in the early Republic. See President Jefferson's comments on the "Return of Militia," 1804. There is not a similar examination of the gun lobby/libertarian pseudoscholarship that has fabricated the armed populace doctrine.

Jerry Cooper, The Rise of the National Guard, U. Nebraska Press, 1997. Hardcover.
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    Chapter 1 is an account by a professional historian of the militia from the colonial period to the Civil War.

Saul Cornell, "Commonplace or Anarchronism: The Standard Model, the Second Amendment, and the Problem of History in contemporary Constitutional Theory," Constitutional Commentary, October, 1999. Cornell writes:

    The flaws in the Standard Model are emblematic of deeper problems in the way history has been used by constitutional scholars.9 Partisans of the Standard Model have not only read constitutional texts in a anachronistic fashion, but have also ignored important historical sources vital to understanding what Federalists and Anti-Federalists might have meant by the right to bear arms. The structure of legal scholarship has served to spread these errors rather than to contain them. Once published, these errors enter the canons of legal scholarship and are continuously recycled in article after article.10 Upon closer inspection, the new orthodoxy of the Second Amendment shares little with the Standard Model employed by physicists. Indeed, recent writing on the Second Amendment more closely resembles the intellectual equivalent of a check kiting scheme than it does solidly researched history.

Saul Cornell, "The Current State of Second Amendment Scholarship," July, 2001.

Search Google for "Saul Cornell Second Amendment".

Gun rights researcher Clayton Cramer provides links to many historical militia documents,

Search Google for "clayton cramer second amendment".

Leon Friedman, Conscription and the Constitution: The Original Understanding," Michigan Law Review, June, 1969.

    Historical and legal overview of difference between militia and regular army in the context of conscription. Very relevant and enlightening. Now in our Archive (without footnotes).

Gary Hart, The Minuteman, The Free Press, 1998.
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    Chapter 4, "The Republic and the Militia," is a highly recommended historically accurate description of the militia concept by a former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Gary Hart, Restoring Democracy, [Order From Amazon Today].

Don Higginbotham, "The Federalized Militia Debate: A Neglected Aspect of Second Amendment Scholarship," William and Mary Quarterly, January, 1998.

Don Higginbotham, "The Second Amendment in Historical Context," Constitutional Commentary, October, 1999. Higginbotham writes: is easier to fathom the motivations of the National Rifle Association and Brady legislation supporters than it is the dozens of those who reside in the halls of ivy. To further complicate matters, one finds both liberals and conservatives on each side of the debate.
    Second, the vast preponderance of these writings have been by members of the legal fraternity. Their approach has on the whole been narrowly legalistic, and they have borrowed very heavily from each other, recycling the same body of information. That information often refers to the generalizations and conclusions of their lawyer colleagues at other institutions.

Chris Mooney quotes Garry Wills and Saul Cornell in "Showdown" on Linguafranca,
Which has been removed from the Internet.

    Observing that law journals are generally run by squads of students rather than peer reviewed, Cornell claims the structure of legal scholarship has allowed the Standard Modelers to recycle their errors tenfold because they are insufficiently scrutinized before publication but canonized afterward. "The standards for history in law journals are just not the same as the standards for historical scholarship in professional history journals," he declares. Garry Wills concurs, though he says he only realized law journals were not peer reviewed after lambasting the Standard Model in the New York Review of Books. "I was taking these people more seriously than I perhaps should have, because I thought, 'Well, my God, here are refereed journals,'" he says. "And it turns out they're not."

Edmund S. Morgan, Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and American, WW Norton, 1988. Paperback.
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    Very relevant. Chapter 7, "The People in Arms: The Invincible Yeoman," critically examines the militia in theory and practice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Morgan writes: "The willing deference of men to their officers, in or out of uniform, was of particular importance in America, because militia office generally went hand-in-hand with political office and because the American militia included all able-bodied free men, most of whom were voters, conditioned by their militia service to support their officers." The militia was part of the social system. The gun lobby calls the militia the bulwark against tyranny. It was a bulwark, but mostly an imaginary bulwark, against arbitrary distant authority and against the rebellious instincts of the landless rabble. When it came to combat the militiamen made poor soldiers. General Washington and other Federalists despised them. Washington built the Continental Army mostly out of the landless rabble.

George Washington, 1783, "Sentiments on a Peace Establishment". Now in our Archive.

Henry Knox, 1786, "A Plan for the General Arrangement of the Militia of the United States". Now in our Archive.

Henry Knox, George Washington, 1790, "Organization of the Militia,". Plan submitted to Congress, January 1790. Now in our Archive.

Dave R. Palmer, 1794: America, It's Army, and the Birth of the Nation.
Palmer's Chapter 10, "The Ghost of Cromwell" is now in our Archive.

John K. Mahon, History of the Militia and the National Guard, 1983.

Noah Webster, 1785
Sketches of American Policy

Pamphlet, widely circulated before the Constitutional Convention.

Noah Webster, 1787
An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution

Pamphlet, second only the Federalist Papers in influencing ratification of the Constitution.

John Trenchard & Walter Moyle, An Argument shewing that a Standing Army is inconsistent with a Free Government, London, 1697

The concerns and consciousness of the 18th century.

Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army, 1967. Out of print.
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    Long readable text. Theme is the dual nature of American military: " the Constitution they [the Founders] retained the dual military system bequeathed to the United States by its history: a citizen solidery enrolled in the state militias, plus a professional army of the type represented by the British army or, more roughly, the Continental Army." Quoted in Emerson amicus brief.

    The Second Amendment and the Militia Act of 1792 do not make any sense outside of a military context. They are miscontrewed now to advance a contemporary rightwing fantasy.

"Rise of Citizen Militias: Angry White Guys with Guns," Daniel Junas, CovertAction Quarterly, Spring, 1995. Scroll Down.

"To Keep and Bear Arms," Garry Wills, New York Review of Books, Sept. 21, 1995.

    Wills makes several points made by the Potowmack Institute. He writes, "Time after time, in dreary expectable ways, the quotes bandied about...turn out to be truncated, removed from context, twisted, or applied to a debate different from that over the Second Amendment." See "Abusing FP. Nos. 46, 29" He also writes, "Yet the right to overthrow government is not given by government....Modern militias say the government itself instructs them to overthrow government— wacky scholars endorse this view. They think the Constitution is so deranged a document that it grants as the greatest crime a war upon itself and then instructs its citizens to take this up. According to this doctrine, a well-regulated group is meant to overthrow its own regulator, and a soldier swearing to obey orders is disqualified for true militia virtue."

Other Resources

The New York Times gives US v. Emerson small mention:
September 21, 2000 and September 24, 2000.

Wendy Kaminer, "Second Thoughts," The Atlantic Monthly, March 1996. Nothing followed from this.

"As NRA convenes in KC, Second Amendment debate intensifies," Kansas City Star, May 17, 2001.

Peter G. Brown, Restoring Public Trust, Beacon Press, 1994.
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    Brown critiques Milton Friedman's libertarian ideology in terms of the foundations of public trust and civil society; Raises similar issues from a different perspective as Newman below. Brown's Chapter 1, "The Sources of Disillusion," is now in our Archive.

Paul Chevigny, Edge of the Knife: Police Violence in the Americas, The New Press, 1995.
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    A comparative study of police departments and police abuse in Los Angeles, New York, Sã o Paulo, Buenos Aires, Jamaica, and Mexico City. When the rule of law and public trust break down police abuse, paramilitary police activity and private armies are inevitable outcomes.

Robert Alan Goldberg, Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America , Yale University Press, 2001.
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    A larger context to general cynicism.

Peter Irons, A People's History of the Supreme Court, Peguin Books, 1999.
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    Irons' Chapter 19 is "The Spectre of Socialism." Half of the e-mail received by the Potowmack Institute denounces touching guns with laws as "socialism." In the period of Robber Baron Capitalism the constitutional struggle was between "freedom of contract" and the regulatory powers of the state in the interests of public health, worker safety and the general welfare; Or, the rights of property and the tyranny of democracy. The language has reemerged in gun rights as the right to individual sovereignty and socialism or the tyrannical encroachments of law and government.

Lee Nisbet, The Gun Control Debate, Prometheus Books, 1990.
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    A collection of essays including Richard Hofstadter's "America as a Gun Culture;" B. Bruce-Biggs' "The Great American Gun War;" Sandford Levinson and Wendy Brown. However, as debate it is poorly done.
Far Right Political Ideology
    Brief overview of rightwing ideology. Begins with John Birch Society and Liberty Lobby and extends to militias. Contains references.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, 1995. Paperback.
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    Fukuyama describes public trust deriving from the rule of law as providing the basis for modern economic systems. Once it is lost it is very difficult to regain. Trust is very relevant to this discussion. We are losing it.

Nicholas Kittrie, The War Against Authority: From Crisis of Legitimacy to a New Social Contract, Johns Hopkins U. Press, (1995).
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    Kittrie does not mention militias, the gun lobby or gun rights, but he provides a useful historical overview of the struggle between state authority and rebellion. This is generally a very relevant discussion to the present political circumstance.

Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk, The Free Press, 1991.
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"Wayne's World," David Brock, The American Spectator, May, 1997.

    Article on NRA internal power struggles.

"Armed and Dangerous," Leonard Zeskind, Rolling Stone, Nov. 2, 1995.

"Among the Gunnies," Philip Weiss, New York Times Magazine, September 11, 1994.

"Congressman Stockman Assaults the 'Assault Weapons' Ban," Hon. Steve Stockman, Guns and Ammo, June, 1995.

"Gunning for His Enemies: Neal Knox, the Real Power at the NRA, Sees Diabolical Plots Everywhere," Washington Post Outlook Section, July 9, 1995, p. C4.

"The Right to Bear Arms," The Hon. Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States (1969-86), Parade magazine, January 14, 1990.

    The late Chief Justice made simple proposals consistent with those advocated by the Potowmack Institute. He could have said more.

Government Print
"Gun Laws and the Need for Self-Defense"
Testimony before Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary of the US House of Representative, Part 2, April 5, 1995, Stock No. 552-070-193-54-5, $10, out of print.

[Tennessee Law Review]
[Chicago-Kent Law Review]
[John Ashcroft hearings]
[John Ashcroft Letter to the NRA]
[Gun Lobby/Libertarian/Right-Wing Resources]
[Firearms Regulation Resources]
[Militia, Militia and Military History, Historic Documents]
[Other Resources]
[General History]
[The Rightwing Movement]
[Libertarians & Conservatives]
[Political Theory]
[Search Amazon]

General History

Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, WW Norton, 1969. Paperback
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    Wood gives the larger context of political consciousness in the 18th century.

Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Vintage Book, 1991.
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Thomas David Konig, " Thornton Anderson, Creating the Constitution: The Convention of 1787 and the First Congress, Pa. St. U. Press, 1993.
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    The Constitution is a frame of government. Much of the business of fleshing out a new government was left up to the First Congress.

Bernard Bailyn, The Origins of American Politics, Vintage Books, 1967, 1968. Paperback.
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Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, 1967. Paperback.
[Order From Amazon Today] Alan Brinkley, Liberalism and its Discontents, Harvard U. Press, 1998. Hardcover.
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    A recent history that puts the New Deal in perspective. One cursory chapter on the rightwing movement.

Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism and the Transformation of American Politics,
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    Very relevant contemporary history of how the George Wallace phenomenon showed the way to build the electoral base for the rightwing movement. Carter explains that the state level organizational support for the Wallace campaigns was provided by the John Birch Society, the Liberty Lobby, the White Citizens Councils (in the Southern states), the Minutemen, among others. The ideas and activism are still with us and many of the ideas have become mainstream.

Dan T. Carter, From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich, Lousiana State University Press, 1996.
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    An update of The Politics of Rage to the Republican Revolution.

Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution, First Vintage Books Edition, 1997.
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Ronald Radosh and Murray Rothbard, A New History of Leviathan, Dutton Paperback, 1972.
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    A critique of the New Deal from an interesting collaboration between libertarian deliverer Murray Rothbard and leftist students of William Appleman Williams. The New Deal was not about socialist revolution.
Thomas P. Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution, Oxford University Press, 1986. Paperback.
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    This is a very relevant discussion. The ancestors of the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" exercised a basic right of freemen to take up arms to defeat an oppressive government. George Washington's eighteenth century military machine rounded them up and tried them for treason. The Whiskey Rebellion in many respects was a replay of the American Revolution. Where George the King failed to defend existing governmental authority in 1774-76, George the President succeeded. The militiamen in 1774-76 had a revolution. The militiamen in 1794 did not.

The Rightwing Movement

Chris Mooney, Losers: Bush's Ally, the Federalist Society, Resurrects the Views of the Vanquished in the Constitutional Debate— the Anti-Federalists, The American Prospect online, April 25, 2001.

Media Transparency: The Money Behind the Media

    Information on the influence of rightwing foundations.

Sidney Blumenthal, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment: From Conservative Ideology to Political Power, 1986. Out of print.
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    Early treatment of the rightwing movement. Still valuable. Blumenthal is an intimate of the Clintons and was more recently pursued by the Starr investigation. His Chapter 12, "The Second Coming," is now in our Archive.

Michael Lind, Up From Conservatism (1996). Paperback.
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    Lind has some strong paragraphs on the association between the Republican Party and insurrectionists. He makes strong assertions that the Republican Party as it represents a conservative ideology is beholden to crackpot fundamentalists and Stormtrooper militias for its electoral appeal. Lind writes (p. 223): "Between 1983 and 1995, the paramilitary right had changed from a fringe group into one of the major constituencies of the Republican Party."

    Lind gives the analysis that rightwing foundations have financed much journalistic and scholarly research on policy and social issues to advance the electoral appeal and credibility of the rightwing movement. Without giving specific information, Lind strengthens the long held suspicions of the Potowmack Institute that much of the gun lobby/libertarian pseudoscholarship, mostly published in law journals, that fortifies the armed populace doctrine, is financed by rightwing foundations. This it seems takes place outside of any input from the NRA. See The Rightwing Movement.

    Appealing to a crackpot fundamentalist constituency and a Stormtrooper militia constituency are part of a cynical strategy to gain electoral support for the agenda of rightwing capitalism. This has become quite respectable and draws no condemnation or critical examination.

John S. Saloma III, Ominous Politics, 1984. Out of print.
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    Another early treatment of the rightwing movement. Still valuable.
"Buying a Movement, Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics," People for the American Way (Homepage)

"Moving a Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations" (1997), The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Order Form or 202-387-9177, $25.

"Feeding Trough; the Bradley Foundation, the Bell Curve, & the Real Story behind W-2, Wisconsin's National Model for Welfare Reform," A Job is a Right Campaign, PO Box 06053, Milwaukee, WI 53206. Send check for $12.

Libertarians and Conservatives

There is enormous conflict within rightwing ideologies. Three areas of conflict are: libertarians and traditional conservatives, libertarians and social conservatives, and libertarians and cold war anti-communists. The differences are hashed out in these articles. At the same time some libertarian strains have their roots in the New Left of the 1960s.

Whittaker Chambers, "Big Sister is Watching You," National Review, December 28, 1957, our most popular file. Now in our Archive.

Frank S. Meyer, "Libertarianism or Libertinism?", National Review, September 9, 1969. Now in our Archive.

Ernest van den Haag, "Libertarians & Conservatives," National Review, June 8, 1979. Critique of the libertarian fantasy from the perspective of a national security cold warrior. Now in our Archive. Included as Appendix G to the Potowmack Institute's amicus curiae in US v. Emerson

Modern Age did not responded to three requests for copyright permission for these:

    Robert Nisbet, "Conservatives and Libertarians: Uneasy Cousins," Modern Age, Winter, 1980

    Murray Rothbard, "Myth and Truth About Libertarianism," Modern Age, Winter, 1980

    Walter Berns, "The Need for Public Authority," Modern Age, Winter, 1980

    Tibor R. Machan, "Libertarianism and Conservatives," Modern Age, Winter, 1980

    John P. East, "The American Conservative Movement of the 1980s: Are Traditional and Libertarian Dimensions Compatible," Modern Age, Winter, 1980

    Tibor R. Machan, "Libertarianism and Conservatives: Further Considerations," Modern Age, Winter, 1982

    George W. Carey, "Conservatives and Libertarians View Fusionism: Its Origins, Possibilities, and Problems," Modern Age, Winter, 1982.

    Dante Geronimo, "Traditionalism and Libertarianism: Two Views," Modern Age, Winter, 1982.

Mark Paul, "Seducing the Left: The Third Party That Wants You," Mother Jones, May, 1980. Early resource on the Libertarian Party. Now in our Archive.

"Libertarian Movement in America," George Friedman and Gary McDowell, Journal of Contemporary Studies, Summer, 1983. The difference between "total liberty" and "ordered liberty.". Now in our Archive.

Mike Huben

    Anti-libertarian website. Contains useful references and critiques.

Norman P. Barry, On Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism, The MacMillan Press, Ltd., 1986. Not available through Amazon.
[Amazon Homepage, search Barry titles on New Right]

    Critique of libertarian ideology written in England. Nothing on the gun lobby. More scholarly and esoteric than Newman below.

Stephen L. Newman, Liberalism at Wit's End: The Libertarian Revolt Against the Modern State, Cornell University Press, 1984.
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    Highly Recommended. A little out of date and nothing on the gun lobby but still the best primer on libertarian ideology we have found.

[Tennessee Law Review]
[Chicago-Kent Law Review]
[John Ashcroft hearings]
[John Ashcroft Letter to the NRA]
[Gun Lobby/Libertarian/Right-Wing Resources]
[Firearms Regulation Resources]
[Militia, Militia and Military History, Historic Documents]
[Other Resources]
[General History]
[The Rightwing Movement]
[Libertarians & Conservatives]
[Political Theory]
[Search Amazon]

Political Theory

Western Political Theory: The Modern Age, Lee Cameron McDonald, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1962. Out of print.
[Amazon Homepage, search for other McDonald political theory texts.]

    Useful text book on the development of Western political concepts and institutions in the modern age.

The History of Political Theory, George Sabine (1880-1961), Fourth Edition, 1973, revised by Thomas Thorson. Hardcover.
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