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:    
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.