Saturday, October 7, 2017

Second Amendment Original Founding Era Sources And History

The Authoritative Period Information

     There is currently a major influx of visitors to On Second Opinion Blog seeking authoritative
information on the Second Amendment. The articles published at this blog and my other writings described below are based directly upon nearly a half century of research into original relevant Founding Era sources. For easy access to the numerous articles at this blog, look at the indexes at the top of this page. The easiest way to access information and links to all of my other printed and online research is at my website, SecondAmendmentInfoDotCom.
     What follows here is a concise description of my readily available Second Amendment historical research. In addition to the many historical fact checking articles published at this blog since January of 2009, I have edited and published the only source document collection with virtually every relevant period source, The Origin Of The Second Amendment(1991, 2001), and I have written and published the only definitive history of the
Second Amendment based directly on all of the relevant documents, The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms(2007). Both of these books were extensively cited to the Supreme Court in the Heller case, and they were the only books that Alan Gura, winning attorney in the Heller case, has described as "the authoritative books on the subject" of the Second Amendment's history.
     My website, in addition to information on the above printed books, links directly to a number of online sources including The American Revolutionary Era Origin Of The Second Amendment's Clauses, my Journal on Firearms and Public Policy article (2011), which is essentially a much condensed version (about 21 pages) of my definitive history, The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms.  The SecondAmendmentInfo website also links to a number of my articles documenting extensive historical errors in several amicus briefs supporting gun control in the Supreme Court's Heller case. These
include  an analysis of the brief from professional linguists that ignored all Bill of Rights context; an article on Chicago's erroneous Heller brief; one on the historically off-track brief from numerous organizations including the Education Fund; and a link to my History News Network Op-Ed (Feb.2008) noting numerous historical errors in the Heller brief filed by professional historians supporting the District of Columbia's gun control laws.

     This blog commenced on January 25, 2009 with the first part of series entitled Root Causes Of Never-Ending Second Amendment Dispute documenting the incredibly large number of historical errors and omissions of essential information in that professional historians' brief. The series runs to twenty-four parts (see Fisking Index above for direct links). I also have two different series of six articles (with takeoffs of selling the Brooklyn Bridge titles) dealing with numerous errors from professional historians' briefs in the MacDonald case where they attempted to re-argue the historical issues in Heller. My analysis of Justice Stevens' Heller dissent runs to six parts currently (more on the way). And there are numerous short articles on various subjects of interest listed in the Post Index above. Among those subjects are these titles:
The Meaning Of 'Shall Not Be Infringed'
The Meaning Of "A Well Regulated Militia"
Commas And The "Original" Version Of The Second Amendment
The Mason Triad Context Of Second Amendment Development And Purpose
     By the way, if you are unfamiliar with Mason Triads, you are most likely unfamiliar with the original American bill of rights context of ALL Second Amendment predecessors preceding Congressional proposals. These include the related provisions in eight early state declarations of rights as well as those in the proposed bills of rights and related provisions voted on in seven of the state conventions called to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
     Finally, note that my document collection, The Origin Of The Second Amendment, is a large collection, a very heavy read, and is intended as a research tool. The much easier read is my history, The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms. The unusual and very extensive Table of Contents in The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms is in fact an extensive outline of essential relevant historical information necessary to understand the full import and meaning of the Second Amendment.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

David Hardy's New Book Is Now Shipping

David Hardy informed me today that his new book has been published and is now shipping. The title is, I'm from the Government, and I'm Here to Kill You: The Human Cost of Official Negligence.

The previous post includes my short description of his book with a link to David's book information webpage.

Here is the the link to Amazon's order page.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

David Hardy Has A New Book Scheduled For October Publication

Available For Pre-Order Now

Long time legal field Second Amendment scholar, David T. Hardy, has a new book coming out in October (possibly earlier, as the official publication date is set for after the books are distributed to
sellers). The title is, I'm From The Government And I'm Here To Kill You. The book deals with negligence and misconduct of Federal Government employees and the lack of accountability for their harmful actions. Included among the nine chapters are three relating to notorious cases involving arms - Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Fast and Furious. David's writings are always based upon extensive and careful research.

Check out the author's web page promoting his new book.

Amazon's pre-order link with informative description is here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Meaning Of "Fisk" and "Fisking"

Updated August 24, 2017
Fisk means fact check, and fisking is the act of documenting specific statements as factually incorrect and publishing the proof, which normally consists of relevant documents directly contradicting the erroneous statement.

On Second Opinion Blog is an excellent example of fisking. It commenced on January 25, 2009 to fisk, or fact check, the Second Amendment related arguments relied upon as authoritative by supporters of gun control. The specific statements that require fisking are those of the fifteen professional historians who backed up Justice Stevens' 2008 District of Columbia vs Heller Supreme Court dissent arguing that the Second Amendment was not intended to protect individual rights.

The initial On Second Opinion article was appropriately titled, Root Causes Of Never-Ending Second Amendment Dispute Part 1, and the series ran to twenty-four fiskings. That there is any dispute today about Second Amendment history and intent is largely attributable to the fifteen mistaken academics who signed the Heller brief written by historian Jack Rakove of Stanford. Sixteen numbered errors of fact are documented in the Root Causes series along with extensive information essential for proper interpretation ignored by the historians and directly contradicting their Heller brief assertions.

At the top of this page is a link, Fisking Index Page, which provides direct access to each of the twenty-four articles in the Root Causes Of Never-Ending Second Amendment Dispute series. There are also other series listed, and one, Justice Stevens' Train Wreck Of American History, includes fisking of Justice Stevens' dissent itself. The historians' error problems carry right over into the Stevens dissent. Every relevant aspect of the historians' Heller brief and Justice Stevens' Heller dissent are based upon fallacious conflation, historical error, and misinterpretation.

The truth is out there - right here. Find out the documented facts of Second Amendment history. See if your belief system is factually founded and can withstand fisking, or if it has no relationship to reality whatsoever, like the Heller historians and Justice Stevens, and you have been brainwashed.

Monday, April 24, 2017

How Professional Historians Destroy Historians' Credibility

Fake Second Amendment History

[Updated April 26&27, 2017]
     Jonathan Gienapp, an assistant professor of history at Stanford University, recently wrote a long article urging all historians to oppose confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. What was the basis for this opposition? A disagreement between a "few historians" (including Professors Gienapp, Jack Rakove, and Saul Cornell) and originalists in the legal community regarding which of the two professions can best understand historical materials from the Founding Era. Reading Professor Gienapp's article, one is left with the distinct impression that originalists, such as former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (and now Justice Gorsuch) eschew any reliance upon history in cases involving the language and intent of the U.S. Constitution. Gienapp's view is that such originalists "have escaped history".

"How originalists have exploited their new fortifications to repel historical expertise is best captured in their reaction to the so-called historians’ amicus brief filed for the Supreme Court in conjunction with the controversial Second Amendment case from 2008, District of Columbia v. Heller... That case—which centered on a D. C. handgun ban—ultimately turned on the original meaning of the amendment. And historians reached the diametrically opposite conclusion from the one advanced by Justice Scalia in the Court’s majority opinion...."
[The above link includes my direct response to Professor Gienapp's article.]

     There are multiple historical problems with the views expressed in Professor Gienapp's article, and some of them will be addressed in this post. First is the assumption that the Heller historians not only got the Second Amendment's history right, but also backed up their conclusion with proof based on primary period sources, and took all of the relevant period sources into account in their examination of the subject. Along with that assumption comes the corollary assumption that it must be Justice Scalia and the Heller majority involved in any historical error. The second problem with the article is the assumption that only historians can accurately get at historical reality, with its corollary that everyone else must rely upon professional historians' views because of their academic credentials. A third problem is that, if these assumptions are incorrect, and they are, then reliance upon the historians' Heller brief as poster child for politicized action against a judicial nomination is historically foundationless politicization of the profession, which it is.
     Neither Justice Scalia for the majority of the Court, nor Justice Stevens in his Heller dissent, cited the professional historians' brief for American Bill of Rights history, with Stevens citing it only once about the English Bill of Rights. There are at least two reasons for lack of reliance upon it by the justices in Heller. First, there is very little actual American Bill of Rights history to be found in the historians' brief, and second, the brief contains numerous errors of fact, erroneously conflated history, and extensive irrelevant material as far as the actual historical point in the Heller dispute. Justice Stevens dissent, which largely followed right along with the historians' assertions in their brief, still had to directly contradict it twice regarding specific historical points. The historians' Heller brief was so historically unreliable that direct citation regarding American history was not possible even by its supporters in the Supreme Court's minority.
     One example of that historical unreliability is a multiple error found in just one assertion in the brief regarding how many of the eight early states with declarations of rights made them part of their state's constitution:

“In only two states (Pennsylvania in 1776, Massachusetts in 1780) were they made part of the actual constitutions.”

     This claim in the historians' Heller brief is contradicted multiple times in three of the period sources actually under discussion by the historians. Three states, North Carolina 1776, Vermont 1777, and New Hampshire 1784 copied various features of the two named states making their declarations of rights part of their constitutions. Vermont alone had three different designations to that effect within its constitution. None of the fifteen professional historian signers of the Heller brief were familiar enough with the relevant period sources to recognize their assertion was in direct conflict with historical reality, a point analyzed and documented in this post at this blog.  Is this what Professor Gienapp refers to as "historical expertise"? This intellectual embarrassment of the first order from the historians' brief is just the tip of an iceberg of such errors, and those go hand in hand with a fundamental conflation error mixing up Founding Era Second Amendment Bill of Rights predecessors with entirely unrelated militia powers amendment history, as analyzed and documented in this post.
     Reliance upon the historical accuracy of the professional historians' Heller brief is just as historically risky and illogical as reliance upon the historical accuracy of Michael Bellesiles book, Arming America, for which a Bancroft prize was awarded and later rescinded. The difference between the two situations being the Heller brief historians are not accused of veracity problems. Instead, they are clearly not overly familiar with relevant period sources, and they appear to have sought out and advanced historical claims that support a preexisting belief regarding the disputed point in the Heller case. There is no doubt that the Heller historians believe the faulty information they provided to the Supreme Court to be accurate. There is also no doubt their brief is the perfect example of History Office Law, twisted history in a legal argument from historians. The opposite, twisted history in a legal argument from lawyers is Law Office History.
     The errors, conflated history, and missing essential information of the historians' Heller brief were analyzed and documented here at On Second Opinion Blog in early 2009 in a twenty-four part series, Root Causes Of Never-Ending Second Amendment Dispute. This Blog was established specifically to publicize historically erroneous assertions by professional historians, Supreme Court justices, and various authors concerning the Second Amendment. The Fisking Index Page link at the top of this page provides direct one click access to each of the twenty-four parts of the series for those who really want to know the details of Second Amendment history and how the professional historians managed to make such a train wreck of American history from it.

     The study of history is the study of period documentation. Historians' writings about history are not history, they are historiography, writings or stories about history by historians. Confusing history and historiography is a mistake. The suggestion by Professor Gienapp that somehow Justice Scalia has "escaped history" regarding the Second Amendment in the Heller case is patently absurd. The Origin Of The Second Amendment, the only comprehensive reprint of source period documents on the subject was the most cited historical collection among the briefs to the Court, and it was cited by both sides in the dispute as well as the majority opinion from Justice Scalia. The Origin Of The Second Amendment was cited in the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia's Parker decision (2007), which was appealed to the Supreme Court as the Heller case and upheld in the Heller decision, and was also cited in the prior Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals U.S. vs Emerson decision (2001). There were over a hundred such citations in the Emerson decision, which itself was cited in the Parker decision. Thus, there is an extensive background of period historical evidence in linked Federal cases that does not appear within the Heller decision itself.
     Also, a newly published history of the Second Amendment, The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms, which was based directly on the period sources reprinted in The Origin Of The Second Amendment, was cited to the Supreme Court in numerous Heller historical briefs. The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms traces and documents every aspect of Second Amendment related terminology and development from Colonial Period use through the Revolutionary and Founding Eras until the final version was ratified by the requisite number of state legislatures.

     All Supreme Court justices in the Heller case had equal opportunity to examine this entire historical record, which was placed directly before them right along with the new, clear history linking the essential information into a logical whole. Most of the justices in the Heller case paid attention to that record, making certain their ruling was consistent with it. By the way, the historical source collection and history described above did not originate with professional historians, but instead with the author of this blog, an avocational historian. This information makes clear it was not the case Justice Scalia "escaped history", but rather that he escaped the faulty historiography and "historical expertise" of professional historians wishing to impose their fallacious opinions upon the Court.
     A more historically accurate view of this affair is that it was Justice Stevens and those supporting his dissenting Heller opinion who "escaped history" by relying on the Heller historians' unfounded assertions and erroneous history. Justice Stevens dissenting opinion suffers from most of the historical defects found within the historian's brief itself, with some of the historical problems made worse. It was the professional historians brief that escaped history and provided the Court with an unsupportable alternative historical outlook that was at odds with American historical reality.
     Professional historians are supposed to study all of the period sources and rely upon them to explicate historical reality. Professor Gienapp, by accepting without question the Heller case brief from Professors Rakove, Cornell, and others, at least as far as the Second Amendment is concerned, is complicit in helping to mold history to fit a certain belief that is at odds with the historical record. Most people wish to understand their country's actual past rather than be indoctrinated with historians' unfounded opinions about it. Completely failing to do what historians are supposed to do is how the profession destroys its own credibility.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Thank You & Blog Update

Thank You To Several Pro-Rights Bloggers

Updated October 7, 2017
Several bloggers are long overdue recognition for bringing my Second Amendment historical research to the attention of their readers during the Bill of Rights anniversary Amazon promotion, December 15 through 31, 2016.

Thank you
David Codrea - The War On Guns
David Hardy - Of Arms & The Law
Glenn Reynolds and Helen Smith - INSTAPUNDIT
A number of these bloggers' readers took advantage of the Bill of Rights Amazon promotion to obtain copies of the authoritative books on the subject of the Second Amendment's history and save money at the same time.

Blog Update
The second half of my Heller dissent analysis under the title, Justice Stevens' Train Wreck of American History, starting with Part 7 will appear in the near future (hopefully).  Also, an analysis of Michael Waldman's Second Amendment book, as well as Carl Bogus' The Hidden History of the Second Amendment are planned. The latter two have received much publicity during several prior gun control pushes from the media. Their historically defective foundations need to be examined and documented.

Note: I have an Amazon review of Waldman's book, The Second Amendment: A Biography at this link.