It is a widely accepted fact that the firearm mortality rate in the United States exceeds that of any comparable nation. This article explores why, from a historical perspective, the United States permits widespread private use of firearms and how gun violence has been framed as a product of cultural tradition. It is not the purpose of this article to question the historical existence of such violence, which is overwhelming, but to question its historical normativity – that is, to ask why our culture has permitted this violence. As a descriptive matter, such violence has become a tradition; as a normative matter, by contrast, it is very much an invented tradition. What is invented, that is, is not the fact of its existence, but rather its elevation to a normative status which distorts the past and grants this tradition constitutional acknowledgment. What once was a regrettable and embarrassing fact of life has become a widely accepted, and often admired tradition.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Konig on Heller, Guns, and History
David Konig, Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law, has posted Heller, Guns, and History: The Judicial Invention of Tradition, which appeared in Northeastern University Law Journal, 3 (2011): 175. Here is the abstract: