The Second Amendment: Fresh Looks

2000 Chicago-Kent Law Review Live Symposium

Presented in partnership with The Institute for Law and the Humanities

Symposium Editor

Professor Carl T. Bogus, Roger Williams University School of Law

Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 West Adams Street
Chicago, Illinois 60661
April 28, 2000
Directions and Parking

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The federal courts have long accepted a “collective rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment, which holds that citizens have a right to bear arms only within the context of state-regulated militias. Last April, however, in a highly controversial case that may soon reach the Supreme Court, a federal district court declared in United States v. Emerson that the Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms. Two weeks later, the shootings at Columbine High School returned the issue of gun violence to the center of the nation’s political agenda.

In this symposium, ten leading historians and constitutional scholars will explore what the Second Amendment meant at the time it was adopted, and what it should mean today.


 8:50am–9:15am Opening Remarks
9:15am–10:15am Panel 1
10:15am–10:30am  Break
10:30am–12:00pm  Panel 2
12:00pm–1:30pm  Lunch
1:30pm–2:30pm  Panel 3
2:30pm–2:45pm  Break
 2:45pm–3:45pm  Panel 4
 3:45pm–4:00pm Morris Hall
 4:00pm–5:00pm Panel 5
 5:00pm–6:00pm Reception

Panel Participants

Panel 1

Lois G. Schwoerer, Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History Emeritus, George Washington University
To Hold and Bear Arms: The English Perspective

Michael A. Bellesiles, Associate Professor of History, Emory University
The Second Amendment in Action

Panel 2

Jack N. Rakove, Professor of History, Stanford University
The Second Amendment: The Highest Stage of Originalism

Daniel A. Farber, Henry J. Fletcher Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School
The Second Amendment and the Failure of Originalism

Panel 3

H. Richard Uviller, Arthur Levitt Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
William G. Merkel, Ph.D Candidate, Oxford University
The Second Amendment: A Study in Obsolescence

Paul Finkelman, Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law
A Well Regulated Militia: The Original Understanding of the Second Amendment

Panel 4

Steven J. Heyman, Associate Professor of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Natural Rights and the Second Amendment

Michael C. Dorf, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
What, If Anything, Does the Second Amendment Mean Today?

Panel 5

Robert J. Spitzer, Distinguished Service Professor, SUNY Cortland
Lost and Found: Researching the Second Amendment

This Symposium made possible with the generous support of The Joyce Foundation