When a federal appeals court ruled against a District of Columbia gun control law in March, it was the first time an appellate court had used the Second Amendment to restrict gun contol legislation. And it was, even more surprisingly, the result of work by a group of liberal scholars.
Until recently there was a concensus among jurists and scholars that the right to bear arms was a collective right arising from the necessity for a “well ordered militia.” But these liberal scholars have begun supporting gun ownership as an individual right, as an extension of their support for other individual rights, such as free speech. “My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” said liberal Harvard professor Laurence Tribe. (Read more gun control stories.)