On Thursday, July 31, 2014, ACS hosted a symposium on the Second Amendment at the National Press Club. Leading experts in the morning panel of the symposium discussed the meaning of the Second Amendment and the implications of this historical context.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of United States v. Miller, a 1939 case in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of weapons that were not related to the “preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated Militia.” On July 31, the American Constitution Society hosted “The Second Amendment’s Past, Present & Future” at the National Press Club. The Symposium’s morning panel considered if the Supreme Court got it right in Heller and McDonald.
For decades after the Miller decision, it was generally understood that the Amendment’s scope was limited to the use of firearms in connection with military activities. This changed in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, and subsequently in 2010 in McDonald v. Chicago, when the Court declared that the Second Amendment provided an “individual right to possess a firearm.” The Court explained that they were not overturning Miller; that Miller only limited the type of weapon to which the individual right applies.
Master of Ceremonies, Robert Raben, President and Founder, The Raben Group; ACS Board of Directors
Moderator, Adam Winkler, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
Joseph Blocher, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
Mark R. Killenbeck, Wylie H. Davis Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law
Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law