Debate Watch: Was the Second Amendment a Mistake or a Success?

2nd Amendment – R2KBA Current Events This Week

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In a lively and thought-provoking debate held at the Fluno Center Main Auditorium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. John Lott and Professor Sandy Levinson recently engaged in a spirited discussion on the Second Amendment.

The debate, titled “Was the Second Amendment a Mistake or a Success?”, was notable for being a rare occasion where someone was willing to debate Dr. Lott, a renowned figure in this field.

Professor Sanford Levinson holds a prestigious chair in law at the University of Texas Austin, and Dr. John Lott is the founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Dr. Lott opened the debate by questioning the effectiveness of gun bans in reducing crime rates, providing statistical evidence from various cities and countries to support his stance.

He argued that such bans often harm the most vulnerable populations, like poor and minority communities, by preventing them from protecting themselves.

Professor Levinson, on the other hand, focused on the historical context and the constitutional aspects of the Second Amendment.

He questioned the relevance of the Amendment in today’s society, suggesting that it may no longer serve its original purpose.

He also criticized the empowerment of judges to make sweeping decisions on gun policy, a role he believes is better suited for the political process.

The debate took an interesting turn when Levinson proposed a hypothetical government program to provide guns to vulnerable groups if Lott’s data proved correct.

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Dr. Lott responded by emphasizing the need for the government to remove burdensome fees and regulations that disproportionately affect the poor and minorities seeking to own guns.

The discussion also touched on the application of the Second Amendment and its interpretation by the Supreme Court, with Levinson critiquing the current judicial approach and advocating for a more nuanced, localized perspective on gun regulation.

Audience questions brought up additional dimensions to the debate, including the role of the federal government in gun policy, the “need” for mandatory training for gun owners, and the historical origins of the Second Amendment in the context of fears of a standing army.

Both speakers concluded with their core beliefs: Dr. Lott maintained that the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the Second Amendment have so far made the country safer, protecting the rights of the most vulnerable.

Professor Levinson, while not dismissing the importance of the right to self-defense, argued for the reevaluation of the Second Amendment in today’s vastly different societal context, and for the political process to address nuanced gun policy issues rather than leaving it to the courts.

Now, it’s your turn to weigh in. Watch the full debate and let us know – who do you think presented the stronger case? Did this discussion change your perspective on the Second Amendment?

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  • Keene Babcock April 4, 2024, 7:45 am

    I continually question the idea that the actions of criminals should define my ability to protect myself and my country. The one thing that is patently obvious is the fact that I am the only person who is truly motivated to do so.

  • William G Munson March 29, 2024, 11:13 am

    Some of these people in our Congress and Government think the Second Amendment Was for People to Hunt on Government land under their Rules and maybe if you and family were Starving but it was there to Stop the Corrupt people in Government from taking over the Country Like in other Countries that what they put it in the Constitution FOR PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Reticent Rogue March 29, 2024, 9:23 am

    Over ninety million gun owners have already expressed their opinion on the Second Amendment with their pocket books, positively voting for it over 435 million times by purchasing and owning firearms. At some point, one would expect the Federal Government to get the hint. Once in place, any government will assume what power and control it can; and its citizens will get the kind of governance they are willing to tolerate. Any government chipping away continually a right enjoyed for 250 years, by so many, with such fondness is bound to get a bloody nose.

  • David Oliver March 29, 2024, 8:44 am

    The 2nd amendment also gives citizens the right to protect themselves from a tyrannical Government ( which I believe we have now ). With all the guns and ammo in law abiding Americans hands right now , I believe if it was a problem, THEY’D KNOW IT. !!!

  • Kane March 28, 2024, 10:38 am

    Sandy Levinson claims that the 2A has handed over too much power to judges, he never commented on the power wielded by the excutive and legislative branches.. Judges are NOT supposed to be powerful, they are supposed to interpret the law according to the US Constitution and apply that law in individual cases. Levinson’s argument seems dishonest as he really does not oppose judges being “powerful,” he really opposes the power that the 2A recognizes for the law abiding common citizen.

    I would liked to have asked Levison if the Federal Reserve Act (not federal and there are no reserves) was a mistake? Does abortion destroy a vibrant culture and population? Was the National Security Act of 1947, signed by President Truman establishing the CIA, a mistake? How does the amassing of power by of government bureaucrats (CIA, ATF, NSA, FBI etc) stack up with the judges who seek only to protect the 2A? I reject virtually every point Levinson tried to make.

    The last question was a good one on a standing army directed to Levinson and said nothing worthwhile.

  • enneagram test March 27, 2024, 11:29 pm

    I think this revision cannot be called successful, there are some provisions that are a bit confusing and annoying. But it’s okay, next time hopefully everything will be fine

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment March 25, 2024, 4:08 pm

    couldn’t watch the vid but………..
    I will say that if the left stopped trying to end around the constitution then the courts wouldn’t be needed, freeing up time and money for more important shit like
    you bail out banks, pay off student loans and mortgages, sure up union retirement funds……why not help out social security a bit
    get rid of the va waiver and pay disability concurrent, us retirees are injured just the same as other vets and deserve proper compensation as such
    affordable care act……i would rather have a nice warm abode and food in my belly than pay for medical care, healthy and homeless don’t cut it!
    and those numerous social programs giving money to the lazy and elevating their lifestyles above the rest of us low income people who have worked or are working!!!
    sorry went off topic but i get sick of watching the news and hearing how bad off people are who obviously are living much better than me!

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