Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea

University of Michigan Press
Free sample

The NRA steadfastly maintains that the 30,000 gun-related deaths and 300,000 assaults with firearms in the United States every year are a small price to pay to guarantee freedom. As former NRA President Charlton Heston put it, "freedom isn't free."

And when gun enthusiasts talk about Constitutional liberties guaranteed by the Second Amendment, they are referring to freedom in a general sense, but they also have something more specific in mind---freedom from government oppression. They argue that the only way to keep federal authority in check is to arm individual citizens who can, if necessary, defend themselves from an aggressive government.

In the past decade, this view of the proper relationship between government and individual rights and the insistence on a role for private violence in a democracy has been co-opted by the conservative movement. As a result, it has spread beyond extreme "militia" groups to influence state and national policy.

In Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea, Josh Horwitz and Casey Anderson reveal that the proponents of this view base their argument on a deliberate misreading of history. The Insurrectionist myth has been forged by twisting the facts of the American Revolution and the founding of the United States, the denial of civil rights to African-Americans after the Civil War, and the rise of the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler. Here, Horwitz and Anderson set the record straight. Then, challenging the proposition that more guns equal more freedom, they expose Insurrectionism---not government oppression---as the true threat to freedom in the U.S. today.

Joshua Horwitz received a law degree from George Washington University and is currently a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. He has spent nearly two decades working on gun violence prevention issues. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Casey Anderson holds a law degree from Georgetown University and is currently a lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C. He has served in senior staff positions with the U.S. Congress, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Americans for Gun Safety. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Read more

About the author

Joshua Horwitz is the author of War of the Whales: A True Story which won a PEN Literary Award in 2015 as the PEN/EO Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

Read more
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
University of Michigan Press
Read more
Published on
Jun 30, 2009
Read more
Pages
274
Read more
ISBN
9780472021994
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
History / United States / General
Law / Constitutional
Law / Courts
Law / General
Political Science / Civil Rights
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Many thought the election of our first African American president put an end to the conversation about race in this country, and that America had moved into a post-racial era of equality and opportunity. Then, on the night of February 26, 2012, a black seventeen-year-old boy walking to a friend’s home carrying only his cell phone, candy, and a fruit drink, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch coordinator.

And in July 2013, the trial of Zimmerman for murder captivated the public, as did his eventual acquittal.

In her provocative and landmark book, Suspicion Nation, Lisa Bloom, who covered the trial from gavel to gavel, posits that none of this was a surprise: Our laws, culture, and blind spots created the conditions that led to Trayvon Martin’s death, and made George Zimmerman’s acquittal by far the most likely outcome.

America today holds an unhealthy preoccupation with firearms that has led to the expansion of gun rights to surreal extremes. America now has not only the highest per capita gun ownership rate in the world (almost one gun per American), but the highest rate of gun deaths. Despite the strides America has made, fighting a bloody Civil War to end slavery, eradicating Jim Crow laws, teaching tolerance, and electing an African American president, racial inequality persists throughout our country, in employment, housing, education, the media, and most institutions. And perhaps most destructively of all, racial biases run deep in every level of our criminal justice system. Suspicion Nation captures a court system and a country conflicted and divided over issues of race, violence, and gun legislation.
In this original, far-reaching, and timely book, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the work of the Supreme Court of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of activity, both public and private—from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade—obliges the Court to understand and consider circumstances beyond America’s borders.

It is a world of instant communications, lightning-fast commerce, and shared problems (like public health threats and environmental degradation), and it is one in which the lives of Americans are routinely linked ever more pervasively to those of people in foreign lands. Indeed, at a moment when anyone may engage in direct transactions internationally for services previously bought and sold only locally (lodging, for instance, through online sites), it has become clear that, even in ordinary matters, judicial awareness can no longer stop at the water’s edge.   
To trace how foreign considerations have come to inform the thinking of the Court, Justice Breyer begins with that area of the law in which they have always figured prominently: national security in its constitutional dimension—how should the Court balance this imperative with others, chiefly the protection of basic liberties, in its review of presidential and congressional actions? He goes on to show that as the world has grown steadily “smaller,” the Court’s horizons have inevitably expanded: it has been obliged to consider a great many more matters that now cross borders. What is the geographical reach of an American statute concerning, say, securities fraud, antitrust violations, or copyright protections? And in deciding such matters, can the Court interpret American laws so that they might work more efficiently with similar laws in other nations?

While Americans must necessarily determine their own laws through democratic process, increasingly, the smooth operation of American law—and, by extension, the advancement of American interests and values—depends on its working in harmony with that of other jurisdictions. Justice Breyer describes how the aim of cultivating such harmony, as well as the expansion of the rule of law overall, with its attendant benefits, has drawn American jurists into the relatively new role of “constitutional diplomats,” a little remarked but increasingly important job for them in this fast-changing world.

Written with unique authority and perspective, The Court and the World reveals an emergent reality few Americans observe directly but one that affects the life of every one of us. Here is an invaluable understanding for lawyers and non-lawyers alike.


From the Hardcover edition.
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.