What Others Say

“Stephen P. Halbrook is a giant among Second Amendment scholars. As the Supreme Court’s recent decision in District of Columbia v. Heller vividly illustrates, the smug dismissal of the Second Amendment’s importance is no longer tenable. For the first time in our history, the Supreme Court has found that a gun-control statute violated the Second Amendment, and it did so largely on the basis of the kind of original-meaning historical analysis that Halbrook pioneered. Nobody has been more persistent or more prolific than Halbrook in the long intellectual campaign that made this victory possible. . . . Halbrook deserves the gratitude of everyone who thinks that the Constitution deserves to be taken seriously as law. . . . Halbrook has now produced a book that only he could have written. The Founders’ Second Amendment is a comprehensive study . . . aimed at both a general and a professional audience, . . . it is highly readable. . . . he has made the story interesting as well. . . . Every American who cares about this provision of the Constitution can now arm himself against the sophistries and oversimplifications that have permeated much of the popular and professional discourse about the origins of the Second Amendment. Doing so would be a fitting tribute to those who set us on a road to freedom at Lexington and Concord.”
National Review

“Stephen Halbrook’s The Founders’ Second Amendment is first-rate work, utterly convincing. This is a solid and important work.”
Forrest McDonald, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of History, University of Alabama; author of We the People, The American Presidency, Novus Ordo Seclorum, and many other books

“Stephen Halbrook’s The Founders’ Second Amendment is crisply written, rich with history, and sure to be valuable to anyone interested in understanding the original meaning of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.”
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee

The Founders’ Second Amendment wins high praise from legal scholars. . . . Halbrook is a well-known writer, scholar and attorney on Second Amendment issues. There need be no fear that this is a recycled brief. Halbrook’s books are exhaustively researched, perfectly organized, and well-written. . . . While vast sections of period documents are quoted in the text, the author clearly explains the context and meaning of the sources. The result is an authoritative yet easily understood explanation of the Founders’ intent regarding the Second Amendment. Halbrook’s brings a lawyer’s perspective to the history of the Second Amendment in his latest book which has won high praise from academics and law professors across the country.”
New Gun Week

“I enthusiastically recommend Stephen Halbrook’s book, The Founder’s Second Amendment. This is an original and valuable approach, focusing on the place of individual ownership of firearms during the time of the American Revolution and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It will add appreciably to the scholarship on the origins and meaning of the Second Amendment.”
Joyce L. Malcolm, Professor of Legal History, George Mason University School of Law

“Halbrook delves deeply into the importance of firearms during the Revolution, finding that attempts by search-and-seizure to control the flow of guns was regarded as the typical tyrannical behavior of a standing army. Liberty hinged on free ownership. . . . his book should be welcomed as a timely introduction to this most contentious of debates.”
Publishers Weekly

“The subject of The Founders’ Second Amendment is currently ‘front-and-center’ as a ‘hot’ and major controversy. Well researched and well presented, Halbrook’s book has brought forward a substantial amount of new research, not redundant of what others have provided, and this book will find a solid place among leading works on the subject.”
William W. Van Alstyne, Lee Professor of Law, College of William and Mary

The Founder’s Second Amendment is an impressive achievement. Halbrook shows conclusively to any honest mind, both in respect to historical evidence and analytical jurisprudence, that the Framers intended the Second Amendment not as the reserved right of a State government to organize a militia, but of the people as individuals to keep and to bear arms. In this meticulously researched and exhaustive study, Halbrook has produced what promises to be the standard work for years to come on the original intent of the Second Amendment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars of the Constitution.”
Donald W. Livingston, Professor of Philosophy, Emory University

The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms: Halbrook is a well-published scholar who has written a timely, well-informed, lucid book on the ‘origins of the right to bear arms.’ He covers the Second Amendment’s historical underpinnings from 1768-1826, and so offers readers a rich interpretive framework from which to grasp the U.S. Supreme Court’s (conservative) decision in June 2008, which was handed down after the book’s publication. The decision affirms the constitutional right of individuals to keep guns at home for self-defense, and prohibits government from violating said right. (That is, the Court struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on individual ownership of handguns.) In brief, Halbrook explores why he believes the ‘original intent’ of the framers was to underscore a personal, and not merely a militia-based, collective right to bear arms. Given his interpretation that only individual persons have substantial rights, whereas it is states that possess ‘powers’ in the requisite sense, it is not unexpected that the author’s argument supports the Supreme Court’s subsequent decision. Recommended. Suitable for educated readers, all levels.”

“Stephen P. Halbrook’s The Founders’ Second Amendment, from which this article is excerpted, is an impressive and irrefutable work that illustrates how those who conceived and wrote the greatest document in the history of freedom—the U.S. Constitution—viewed firearms and their role in a free society. Halbrook, a practicing attorney who has won three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, is also the author of That Every Man Be Armed, Freedman, the Fourteenth Amendment and The Right to Bear Arms, 1866-1876. Here, Halbrook examines the nature of the right to keep and bear arms as the Founders saw, understood it and experienced it—and the steps they took to protect it for future generations—recounted in their own words. The scholarship is impressive, yet it is extremely readable as a narrative. . . . Halbrook leaves no doubt where those who fought the Revolution and founded our nation stood. . . . The final chapter ‘What Does the Second Amendment Say?—analyzing the actual words in the context of the language as the Founders use it’s one of the most clear and concise evaluations of the text and meaning ever presented. The Founders’ Second Amendment should be required reading for every American who believes in and wants to fully understand and safeguard the uniquely American right to keep and bear arms. It has taken the most prominent place on my shelf of Second Amendment historiography, and it belongs on yours too.”
American Rifleman

“Like much of Halbrook’s other excellent work, The Founders’ Second Amendment is both well-written and full of fascinating details. It will serve as an important resource for professional scholars and interested laypersons. One especially useful aspect of Halbrook’s work is that the author so consistently lets a huge variety of original sources speak for themselves.”
Nelson Lund, Patrick Henry Professor of Constitutional Law, George Mason University

“Historian and philosopher Stephen Halbrook is the single most prolific researcher on the Second Amendment, having contributed literally dozens of scholarly articles on various aspects of the subject. The Founders’ Second Amendment masterfully both extends and summarizes his (and others’) research. It is the last word—the single most comprehensive work on the thinking of the Founding Fathers’ era about the constitutional right of citizens to be armed.”
Don B. Kates, Jr., criminologist and constitutional lawyer

The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms considers the history of the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms in early America from 1768 to 1826, offering up the first book-length account of these origins based on the Founders’ own statements from newspapers, debates, and legislative resolutions. The depth and detail added to source material quotes makes this a fine pick for both college and high school collections strong in American history and politics.”
Midwest Book Review