Law professor Garrett Epps notes that the Second Amendment is “spectacularly unhelpful.” Second Amendment scholars have honestly settled a lot of this ambiguity. I also particularly resent this subtle dig in his conclusion:
It is thus in the interests of everyone concerned with the role of firearms in society to contribute more than images and myths to a reasoned resolution of this question—and during such discussions, perhaps we should all keep our hands where others can see them.
The implication that our scholars have been dishonest and argued only through “images and myths” is insulting and unfounded. We ultimately won at the Supreme Court because we had better and more thorough scholarship on the issue, and could answer the criticisms of the other side argument by argument.
It is amazing to me that no one had any difficulty figuring out the meaning of the Second Amendment until the 20th century, when gun control started to become popular. Dave Kopel has a pretty good account of how the collective rights myth came about. Maybe we should keep our hands where others can see them, but not because we deal in myth and images. Those who have opposed the “standard model” of the Second Amendment are the ones who have been engaged in the real myth making.