Backstory: The Second Amendment
Thursday, January 13, 2011
The shooting in Arizona that resulted in the death of 6 people and the injury of 14 others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, has prompted a new round of soul-searching about one of the most contentious topics in American politics: gun-control. Both Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) have announced intentions to introduce new gun control legislation in Congress, but many the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) lobby maintains that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights and should not to be changed. Harvard University History Professor and New Yorker contributor Jill Lepore explains that the 2nd amendment was not always interpreted as the right to bear arms in the literal sense. She'll trace the history of this contentious amendment through its drafting to the present--and, along the way, will explain how the right to bear arms is inextricably linked with the unique way in which murders have been carried out on American soil.