For many years, the Second Amendment was politely ignored, or summarily dismissed, by America's legal academy. In recent years, however, more and more law professors have begun taking the Second Amendment seriously. Professor William Van Alstyne, one of the nation's most respected Constitutional law professors, and the author of a leading Constitutional law casebook; offers his contribution in this essay. Van Alstyne suggests that the Second Amendment means exactly what it says: that individual citizens have a right, not merely a privilege, to own and carry firearms. He also commends the National Rifle Association for its constructive role as a defender of civil liberties. This essay was first published in 1994, in volume 43 of the Duke Law Journal, beginning on page 1,236. It is reprinted by permission.

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43 Duke Law Journal 1236-1255 (1994)