Must Read: Origins and Development of the Second Amendment

Courtesy Dean Weingarten

If you want to understand how the United States came to have the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, David Hardy’s book Origins and Development of the Second Amendment may be the best place to go. I’ve read numerous books and articles about the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Some have been short, others hundreds of pages. David T. Hardy’s slim book gets it done. This is surprising, because . . .

the book was originally published in 1986. That said, the second edition includes sections on the D.C. v Heller case on McDonald v. Chicago. The slender volume now has 111 pages, 16 more pages than the original 95.

[I was in Panama in 1986, when the Internet was just starting to form. I had an account on MILNET, one of the early precursors of the Internet, but it was limited to official email. So I missed Hardy’s book.]

The work is a masterpiece. It concisely explains the origin of the Second Amendment from a thousand years ago to present day (well, 1986).  Joyce Lee Malcolm does as well in her works, but she covers the topic in considerably greater detail. Hardy supplies the information in short, easily digested bites.

I learned facts that I knew, for which I’d lost the sources. I was happy to reacquaint myself with the Virginia law that required colonists to bring their arms to church; a 1752 English court ruling that guns could not be seized on the pretext of hunting regulation, because guns were useful for self-defense; an English historian thought that French peasants were enfeebled because, unlike the English, they were forbidden arms. This in 1476.

The first edition is still available on Amazon for $36.81; used copies are available for a few dollars worth of shipping. The Second Amendment Foundation has the hardcover first edition available for $15.00, a very good deal.

If you wish to purchase the Second Edition, it is now available on as well. If you attend a Gun Rights Policy Conference, you may be able to pick one up for free.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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