Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, said he had come to believe that the Second Amendment protected an individual right.
“My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Professor Tribe said. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”
The first two editions of Professor Tribe’s influential treatise on constitutional law, in 1978 and 1988, endorsed the collective rights view. The latest, published in 2000, sets out his current interpretation.
Several other leading liberal constitutional scholars, notably Akhil Reed Amar at Yale and Sanford Levinson at the University of Texas, are in broad agreement favoring an individual rights interpretation. Their work has in a remarkably short time upended the conventional understanding of the Second Amendment, and it set the stage for the Parker decision.
The earlier consensus, the law professors said in interviews, reflected received wisdom and political preferences rather than a serious consideration of the amendment’s text, history and place in the structure of the Constitution. “The standard liberal position,” Professor Levinson said, “is that the Second Amendment is basically just read out of the Constitution.”
Honesty is such a lonely word
Liberal law professors finally admit that the Second Amendment means what it says:
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