Stanford University

News Service



Lisa Trei, News Service (650) 725-0224; e-mail:

Stanford sponsors conference on the constitutional right to bear arms

Stanford Law School and the Stanford Humanities Center will sponsor a two-day public conference April 20-21 titled "The Second Amendment: History, Evidence and the Constitution."

The conference will bring together many of the country's leading legal scholars and historians who have shaped the ongoing debate over the meaning of the clause protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Two main schools of interpretation will be represented: those who argue that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own firearms, and those who believe the amendment allows states to regulate the use and even the ownership of firearms.

The conference kicks off April 20 with a lecture by Professor Michael Bellesiles of Emory University on "How Americans Became an Armed People." The lecture starts at 4:15 p.m. in History Corner, Building 200, Room 2. Bellesiles is the author of the controversial new book Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, which challenges the assumption that Americans in the 17th to 19th centuries were a well-armed people. The book was recently awarded Columbia University's prestigious Bancroft Prize in the American history category.

The second day of the conference starts at 9 a.m. in Room 290 of the Law School. Following a general welcome from Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan, three panels will focus on the use and interpretation of the key pieces of evidence that sustain the competing views of the meanings of the Second Amendment. The first panel, moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning history Professor Jack Rakove, will discuss "The Anglo-American Background to the Second Amendment." The second panel, moderated by Sullivan, will examine "The Second Amendment: Original Meaning(s)." The final panel, moderated by law Professor Pamela Karlan, will address "Firearms Regulation: Present and Future."

The conference is free and open to the public.


© Stanford University. All Rights Reserved. Stanford, CA 94305. (650) 723-2300. Terms of Use  |  Copyright Complaints